Expert Takes on Vikings Offensive Line, Prospects

Posted Feb 24, 2016

The first wave of players made the media rounds Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

While offensive linemen, running backs and specialists partook in interview sessions, numerous experts said they think the Vikings could hone in on the offensive line in the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports talked with’s Mike Wobschall and suggested the Vikings offense could benefit from a boost to their offensive line.

“I just think have need to get better up front,” Prisco said. “I know they had some injuries last year with [John] Sullivan and [Phil] Loadholt. They have to make some decisions there with those kind of guys.

“If they get better on the offensive line, I think they’ll be a better offense and Teddy Bridgewater will be a better quarterback, and they’ll be able to make some plays down the field.”

Prisco projected the Vikings taking Michigan State OT Jack Conklin in his recent mock draft. Prisco said the Vikings have plenty of talent at other positions and that an upgrade to the line could push them over the top.

“Look, they have good young talent on defense,” he said. “They have good young talent at the quarterback position. They have a running back who can still get it done. They have a good tight end.

“They need to get better on the offensive line,” he added. “Matt Kalil has got to play better, too. That’s a guy, you drafted him high, he’s got to get better, too.”

NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks also said he is slightly hesitant about Minnesota’s offensive line.

“One area of concern is maybe the offensive line,” Brooks said. “Looking at offensive guard, maybe a guy like Cody Whitehair from Kansas State who can come in and start and solidify it.”

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman addressed reporters Wednesday in Indianapolis and said this year’s offensive line class has some depth.

“There’s going to be a lot of prospects in that group,” Spielman said.

The draft prospects themselves had a chance to offer their opinions on what they think the transition to the NFL will be like.

Whitehair, who played both tackles spots and right guard in college, said he is versatile and can play all over.

“At the end of the day, I think I can play both guard and tackle,” Whitehair said. “If somebody needed me to play center, I feel like I can master that as well.”

Conklin, who played left tackle at Michigan State, said he could also switch positions with his new team.

“I think quite a few teams [have asked me] about possibly playing the right side, and see how it goes into camp,” Conklin said. “A lot of teams have projected at least starting off at that right side.’’

Vadal Alexander, a four-year starter at both guard and tackle at LSU, said he models his game after former Vikings lineman Steve Hutchinson. 

Offensive linemen will go through one-on-one interviews with teams Thursday and also participate in the 225-pound bench press. They will hit the field for workouts and drills Friday.

Here are links to other content pieces from Wednesday at the combine:

Introduction to the NFL Scouting Combine

Transcript: Spielman at the NFL Scouting Combine

Vikings Use Analytics to Dive Deep on Combine Drills

Spielman: Vikings Discussed Defensive Line Prospects for Nearly 13 Hours

Vikings Aim to Maximize 900 Seconds with Draft Prospects

5 Takeaways from Spielman’s Combine Presser

10 Telling Tweets from Day 1