Andre Smith joining much improved Minnesota Vikings offensive line

By Jesse Reed
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andre Smith (71) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent offensive tackle Andre Smith announced on Twitter that he’s joining the Minnesota Vikings, which enters the upcoming NFL season looking like a unit that can dominate the trenches.

Smith joins guard Alex Boone to solidify the right side of Minnesota’s offensive line in a major way.

The two of them represent a mountain of run-blocking magnificence which should greatly improve the running lanes future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson encounters this upcoming season.

That it’s a one-year deal is a good sign for the Vikings. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network¬†reports it is worth $3.5 million and could be worth up to $4.5 million.

Clearly, it’s a prove-it deal for a guy who has been up and down his entire career. Smith possesses immense talent to match his size (6-foot-4, 335 pounds), but he hasn’t been a consistent performer.

He told reporters earlier this week, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, “I could come in and help the offensive line greatly. I’m a dominant lineman both in the run and I can keep Teddy [Bridgewater] clean.”

This means Minnesota should get the very best out of the offensive tackle, who will almost certainly compete with both Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt for either tackle spot as Loadholt recovers from a torn Achilles last year.

Both Boone and Smith are capable pass protectors, as well. If he can stay healthy, then Smith should be a big help to young Bridgewater, who needs to take a big step in 2016 if the Vikings are to take the next step as an organization.