Monday Morning Mailbag: New-Look Offensive Line, Picks That Addressed Need + Had Value, More

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I know there were a bunch of different options available to the Vikings at No. 18, but Garrett Bradbury is the perfect pick there. I’m betting that Coach Dennison moves Pat Elflein out to guard, then plugs Bradbury into the center position for the next 10 years. When Coach Zimmer said Andre Patterson was impressed with Bradbury, that got my attention.
-- Gary Gross
PS: Outstanding job by your content guys!

Thank you, and we’re very glad you enjoyed the content! We’ll see what the Vikings do in terms of Bradbury at center and Pat Elflein at guard or vice versa. I’m sure the coaching staff has an idea in mind, but I’m equally sure the staff will want to experiment with different combinations. Elflein has experience playing guard back at Ohio State, but I’m sure he also takes pride in playing the center position. No matter how it shakes out, the offensive line got better with the selection of Bradbury plus there’s no question Elflein remains a key cog in the equation.

During the draft, there was mention of the Vikings new zone blocking scheme. What is a zone blocking scheme and what skills are needed in a lineman to fit this system?
-- Chris Kulak
Fowler, CA

Good question. Providing a specific answer to that question is not something I can do, so let’s save the specifics for an interview we conduct with coach Dennison someday. I will say this, though…athleticism and the ability to execute blocks in space is going to be something you hear Vikings coaches talk about and something you’ll see Vikings linemen attempt to execute.

The Vikings are getting zero credit for their draft. Sure the grades are good, but the Vikings VASTLY improved what stopped them from being a playoff/Super Bowl-caliber team while losing nothing. And we’re still probably projected to finish third in the division. #UnderTheRadar*
-- James Pringle
@StuffedGreen
*

If you wrote in to me criticizing this class, I’d be telling you to let time pass before you judge. So it’s only fair that I use the same logic when responding to a positive email about the class. With that being said, I believe there are many reasons for optimism about this class. In what GM Rick Spielman described as the deepest class he can remember grading, the Vikings came away with a NFL-high 12 selections. After head coach Mike Zimmer said he wanted to be tough in the trenches, the Vikings selected four defensive/offensive linemen, including at No. 18. I loved the approach and I loved a lot of the specifics about the players, including the running style of Alexander Mattison, the attitude of Dru Samia and the eagerness to learn I felt from Armon Watts.

With this draft I see volume AND value. I can’t say I knew every name but I also can’t say I saw my team leave great talent on the board to reach for a player either. Other than Bradbury, which pick do you think had the best combination of addressed need and overall value?
-- Jeff Kilty
Sacramento, CA

There are two names that came to mind immediately – Mattison and Samia. If I had to choose one right now to answer this question, I might lean slightly toward Samia because he was taken a round later. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, whom I respect greatly and with whom we chatted three times prior to the draft, had Samia as a top 100 player in this class; the Vikings selected him at No. 114 and they traded up to do so, which tells you how strongly they felt about him. On top of value, he plays a position of need and I will leave open the possibility that Samia can push for a starting spot at guard even as a rookie.

Super excited with the Vikings 1st-round pick! He was an excellent player for NC State both on and off the field; he will be a true asset for the team. Happy we are sending another North Carolina boy up to y’all. That makes two 1st-rounders in the last two years from NC! Let’s hear it for the Olde North State!
-- Matt Taylor
Raleigh, NC

Amen! It’s true…North Carolina has been kind to us the past two drafts. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Bradbury during his quick visit to TCO Performance Center last Friday. If you haven’t had the chance to yet, make sure to check out all the content we put up on vikings.com from that day, from our one-on-one interview with him to the photo gallery that is posted.

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