EAGAN, Minn. — The newest addition to the Vikings offensive line is an outdoorsman who is ready to get rolling in Minnesota’s outside-zone running scheme.
The Vikings signed guard Josh Kline to their roster on Wednesday, adding a veteran who has started 46 straight games, the longest active streak among players at his position.
Minnesota’s offensive flavor in 2019 under Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski and Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak could suit Kline well, as he said Thursday on a conference call with the Twin Cities media that it’s comparable to the system he was in with Tennessee in 2018.
“The scheme is similar to the scheme I had with the Titans this past year,” Kline said. “Outside-zone oriented, and it has that West Coast feel.
“It’s the same, the terminology is basically verbatim, so it’s really going to help out with the transition from Tennessee to Minnesota,” Kline added.
Off the field, Kline should fit in nicely up north as he is an avid hunter and fisherman who is looking forward to exploring his new state of Minnesota.
“I love to hunt and fish. I actually have a hunting trip scheduled in South Texas on Monday, so we’re going to go turkey hunting in the morning and hog hunting at night,” Kline said. “I enjoy the outdoors, and that was another draw [for] Minnesota as well, is because it’s definitely an outdoor state.
“I love walleye fishing; I would go up to [Lake] Erie every summer and go walleye fishing with my dad and brother,” Kline added, “so that’s something I enjoy.”
An undrafted free agent out of Kent State, Kline is an Ohio native who spent part of the 2013 season on New England’s practice squad before being activated to the 53-man roster for good in November.
He made 18 starts and appeared in 33 total games with the Patriots from 2013-2015, and dressed but did not appear in Super Bowl XLIX against Seattle after the 2014 season.
Kline then landed in Tennessee, where he helped the Titans ranked in the top half of the league in rushing — and finished in the top 10 twice — in the three seasons that Kline started for Tennessee.
The Titans released Kline last week, and the 29-year-old said he was happy to have quickly found a new home.
“What drew me there the most was the family-first culture that Coach [Mike] Zimmer and Rick Spielman gave me as soon as I walked in the building,” Kline said. “Everyone … all the coaching staff around there … and from the training staff and the equipment staff … everyone in the building was just super nice.
“They were super welcoming and had that Midwest feel I’m accustomed to since I’m an Ohio boy,” Kline added.
Kline, who has appeared in 79 career games in six seasons and has made 64 starts, could now be tasked with protecting Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins as Minnesota has some possible job openings on the interior of its offensive line.
Mike Remmers and Tom Compton, the Vikings primary starters at guard in 2018, are no longer with the team. Prior to Kline’s signing, Minnesota had Danny Isidora and Aviante Collins at that position.
Kline said Thursday that will approach the season with the mentality of having to earn a starting spot in the trenches.
“You have to earn everything you get in this league,” Kline said. “I wouldn’t say I’m the starter right away, but you have to act like you are.
“You have to work your tail off in this league no matter what [because] they’re always trying to replace you,” Kline said. “You always have to keep on working hard, no matter what anyone says.”
Kline could benefit from the fact that he knows Stefanski’s scheme already, and has played in offenses that are similar to what Kubiak is expected to bring on board in Minnesota.
Kline noted that guards in this system have to be tough, physical and somewhat athletic in order to create holes in the running game and protect the quarterback. He also outlined what he expects going forward within the Vikings offense.
View photos of Vikings G Josh Kline who signed with the team on Wednesday.
“There’s little things that are different, but everything is pretty much the same,” Kline said. “There’s a lot of aspects for any offense throughout the league that have similar aspects but different terminology.
“In this system, the terminology is basically the same, so it’s going to help out, because a lot of football, with me as a player, I actually have to go out and do it. You can draw it up on the board all you want, but for me as a learner, I have to go out and do it,” Kline added. “Starting early here with Minnesota, having an entire offseason with the team is going to help me out a lot, from a fit aspect, my right tackle and center, the offensive line as a whole and the offense as a whole.”
Kline will get his chance to acclimate with his new team next month, as the Vikings voluntary offseason workout program begins in less than a month.
“I can’t wait to get up there on April 15 and start working,” Kline said.