Vikings’ inability to address offensive line becoming a problem

By Vincent Frank
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

We already know that the Minnesota Vikings have found themselves in a less-than-stellar cap situation. The ridiculous contract this team signed Kirk Cousins to last offseason hasn’t helped much.

Even then, Minnesota’s willingness to hold on to the likes of Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes has come at a rather big cost to the team’s offensive line.

The immobile Cousins was sacked 40 times last season. Given just how much he struggles with pressure in his face, we figured that the Vikings might look to turn one of those overpaid defensive players into an upgrade a long the offensive line.

Instead, Minnesota just recently inked former Tennessee Titans guard Josh Kline to an above-market three-year, $15.7 million deal. How in the world is that going to improve this unit? It isn’t. Here, we look at why.

Minnesota’s hands are now tied: They must go OL often in the draft.

  • Mike Remmers was bad at guard last season. How bad? He allowed 42 pressures and seven sacks.
  • Unfortunately, the signing of Kline doesn’t really help matters here. Pro Football Focus actually gave him a far inferior grade in comparison to Remmers last season.
  • As of right now, Aviante Collins is looking like a sure bet to start at the other guard position. He didn’t even see the field last season.

Offensive tackle is not settled: Where are the book ends?

  • Riley Reiff actually improved at left tackle last season. That’s one area of even pedestrian standing for the Vikings’ offensive line.
  • Meanwhile, then-rookie Brian O’Neill started 11 games at right tackle last season. He allowed zero sacks in the process. That’s pretty awesome stuff.
  • Even then, we’re looking at an NFC North with the likes of Khalil Mack, Trey Flowers, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. There’s an upgrade to be had here.
  • At the very least, a franchise left tackle should be a priority given the guarantees Minnesota handed Cousins.

No cap room: By holding on to overpaid defensive players, Minnesota handcuffed itself.

  • The Vikings could have saved a plethora of cap room by moving on from either Xavier Rhodes or Trae Waynes.
  • Given the team selected another cornerback (Mike Hughes) in the first round of last year’s draft, we’re not too sure how good this roster dynamic is.
  • There were some decent guard options in free agency. Minnesota decided to go cheap, and it’s going to come home to roost.

The good news: Minnesota has options in the draft.

  • If the Vikings were to look guard in Round 1, Cody Ford from Oklahoma could be a plug-and-play option.
  • Further down the road, Chris Lindstrom (Boston College), Beau Benzschawel (Wisconsin) and Michael Jordan (Ohio State) could be Day 1 starters.
  • At tackle, there’s a chance Alabama’s Jonah Williams or Kansas State’s Dalton Risner could be available at No. 18 overall.
  • Either way we spin it, Minnesota is likely looking at spending its top-two picks on offensive linemen. That’s what happens when you largely ignore the position in free agency.