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Lunchbreak: Sizing Up Vikings Offensive Line Before the Draft

Posted Apr 18, 2017

The 2017 NFL Draft is just over a week away, meaning chatter about the annual event is starting to heat up.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune recently unveiled the first installment in a draft preview series, starting with the offensive line. 

Krammer wrote that the Vikings shored up one area of their offensive line in free agency.

The Vikings’ need at tackle isn’t as pressing after adding two 28-year-old starters through free agency in Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.

But the other two offensive line spots are a different story. Krammer noted Minnesota could look to add depth at center and guard going forward.

The Vikings did not add a guard or center in free agency, leaving open the possibility of drafting to both positions next week. Head Coach Mike Zimmer said this offseason he has four of five starting spots figured out. They’ll have intriguing options in the upcoming draft to bolster that fifth spot at right guard.

Krammer said a key player to watch along the line is center Nick Easton, whom the Vikings traded for during the 2015 season.

The third-year center started five straight games at the end of last season and could give Berger, who turns 35 in May, a run for the starting center spot. Easton played with confidence and intelligence during his fledgling starts, but was overpowered at times while run blocking and made a critical error on a botched snap at Lambeau. Will he take another step forward this season?

Krammer tabbed Minnesota’s level of need for the offensive line as high, and threw out a projection as to what the Vikings could do going forward.

The Vikings stayed away as guards struck gold in free agency. Two tackles were added instead, positioning them to draft a top guard prospect as early as possible without a first-round pick. The Vikings will be on the clock with the 48th-overall selection, where a good value could be found in a player like Indiana’s Dan Feeney. Don’t be surprised if a couple interior linemen are drafted.

Holler: Vikings could get defensive in second round

Although the draft is on the horizon, the Vikings are slated to wait an extra day to pick since they don’t have a first-round selection.

Minnesota currently has eight total picks, the first of which is No. 48 overall, in the middle of the second round.

John Holler of Viking Update projected his second-round mock draft and had the Vikings beefing up their defensive line with Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley.

Holler wrote:

This is the Vikings first pick, so the rules of immediate need don’t apply. They had a list of players on their draft board that wouldn’t come into play until the draft came to them, and 47 players were gone. Given the questions about the future of Sharrif Floyd, who still hasn’t recovered from surgery back in September, they need a disruptive player to line up next to Linval Joseph. Brantley would step into the void and compete for playing time if Floyd isn’t ready and can get some rotational work if he is.

Brantley made 11 starts and played in 13 games for the Gators in 2016. He tallied 31 tackles (16 solo), 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Brantley’s tackles for loss and sack totals were team leads, and he was an All-SEC Second Team selection.