Perhaps one of the most intriguing Vikings storylines to follow over the next few months is how Minnesota’s offensive line falls into place.
The Vikings used the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury, who switched from tight end to defensive line to left guard in his college career before ultimately ending up as the nation’s best center.
Minnesota also has Riley Reiff, Pat Elflein and Brian O’Neill as players who started more than half of the team’s games in 2018.
Danny Isidora, a fifth-round pick in 2017 is also back in Purple, as are tackle Rashod Hill and Brett Jones, who is versatile on the interior.
The Vikings also signed guards Josh Kline and Dakota Dozier in free agency, and drafted Oklahoma’s Dru Samia in the fourth round over the weekend.
That gives the Vikings double-digit linemen to try and find the best five starters for the 2019 season to protect quarterback Kirk Cousins and open up running lanes for running back Dalvin Cook.
But no matter how the unit shakes out, Andy Benoit of The MMQB recently wrote that he expects Bradbury to be an impact starter from Day 1.
Bradbury can take over one of [the guard] spots or play his college position at center, moving Pat Elflein to guard. However it shakes out, this is case of player and need meeting together perfectly. New Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski wants to employ an outside-zone scheme to fit Kirk Cousins, who is at his best throwing play-action off those outside zone looks. Bradbury is viewed unequivocally as the best outside zone blocking interior lineman in this draft.
Benoit gave Minnesota’s selection an ‘A+’ for bringing Bradbury into the fold up front.
Bradbury garnered First-Team All-ACC honors as a senior and also won the Rimington Trophy, an award given to the nation’s best center.
Bradbury and the rest of Minnesota’s draft picks, along with undrafted free agents and those on rookie tryouts, will participate in rookie minicamp this weekend at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan.
Rosenthal: Cousins among those helped by 2019 draft class
Kirk Cousins hit numerous statistical milestones in 2018, his first season with the Vikings.
The quarterback turned in numerous impressive games and put together a strong statistical season, but Minnesota missed the playoffs despite high preseason expectations.
As Cousins enters his second season in Purple, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal believes Cousins could be even better in 2019 thanks to Minnesota’s recent draft haul.
The selection of center Garrett Bradbury with the 18th overall pick was a strong combination of desperate team need meeting talent. The Vikings also added tight end Irv Smith in the second round to give their erratic offense more dimensions. In all, Minnesota spent its first four draft picks on offense (including running back Alexander Mattison in the third round and guard Dru Samia in the fourth) in an effort to balance out the talent level on Minnesota’s roster.
This is one of the best rosters overall in football if the offensive line holds up, although that’s also what we were saying at this time a year ago.
The Vikings spent more than half of their 12 total draft picks on offense, bringing in seven players on that side of the ball.
That group included Bradbury and Samia up front, along with sixth-round tackle Olisaemeka Udoh out of Elon University. Minnesota also added a tight end in Smith, a running back in Mattison and a pair of seventh-round wide receivers in Oregon’s Dillon Mitchell and Colorado State’s Olabisi Johnson.