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Monday Morning Mailbag: O-Line Not An Option Come Draft?

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The Vikings drafted a lot of linemen last year. Do you think they will do the same thing this year? --Zach C. Minneapolis, MN

Given the emphasis head coach Mike Zimmer places on toughness and wanting to win on both sides of the line of scrimmage, my sense is there's a good shot the Vikings select multiple linemen in this year's draft. They've certainly done that in each of the past two seasons – drafting five total linemen (three offensive, two defensive) last year and selecting three the year prior (two defensive and one offensive). Depth is so important and you have to bring so many on each side of the ball to camp that it only makes sense to try and load up on those nine positions (five offensive, four defensive) whenever possible.

With free agent signings and players returning from injury, the Vikings are loaded at O-line. In fact, some of the veterans on the team may not even make the final roster. Do you think this indicates that the team may opt to go after a different position in the draft, one like safety or receiver? -- Nate Tennessee

No. The Vikings have done a great job of addressing the offensive line this offseason, particularly with the signings of G Alex Boone and RT Andre Smith; the re-signing of Mike Harris was also a good move. But I don't think those moves alone will be enough to convince the coaching and scouting staffs that they can neglect all five positions in the draft, even in the 1st round. We all know GM Rick Spielman is a stickler for taking the best available player, and I don't think he'll hesitate to tab an offensive lineman at any point of the draft if he's the best player on the board when the Vikings are on the clock.

How would you rate Andrew Sendejo? Should we expect him to start this year, or do you see another player stepping up? -- Brent M. Alexandria, MN

Sendejo is a quality player to have on the roster because of how many ways he can help your football team. He was a regular starter last season on the No. 5 scoring defense, and before the 2015 season he cut his teeth in the League as a core, multi-phase special teams player for the Vikings. I expect he'll compete with Michael Griffin, among others, for a starting safety spot and then, if he doesn't win that job, he'll be a core special teams player as well as a quality backup whom Zimmer knows can be relied upon if a starter goes down in the secondary.

Mike Zimmer is known for rotating his defensive line. With the new additions of Alex Boone and Andre Smith, plus the return of Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan, do you see Zim doing the same thing with the offensive line? It's an interesting thought – having a fresh O-line throughout the game. -- Logan Koenig Bozeman, MT

You don't typically see teams use the rotational approach with the offensive line the way you see them use it with the defensive line because the offensive line relies so much on continuity synergy. I'm not making any decisions for coach Zimmer or new offensive line coach Tony Sparano, but my guess would be the staff would like to have the same five starters for as many games as possible.

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The Vikings selecting a WR in the first round is the trendy pick, but will the Vikings be able to pass on Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott if he is still available at No. 23? AP isn't getting any younger and there will still be some good WRs available in the 2nd round. -- Terry Chrtt Fairfield, Illinois

I do agree there will be some quality WRs available in the 2nd round and beyond and I also do not think taking a WR is a must for the Vikings in the 1st round. If Elliott is there in the last stages of the 1st round, though, that will really test teams who proclaim to be of the "best player available" philosophy. By seemingly all accounts, Elliott is the best RB in this class and it would be surprising to see him available at No. 23. If he's there at that point, my guess is teams who don't need a RB will be trying to trade their pick to teams who would be interested in taking a 1st-round RB.

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