We're only two weeks from the start of Vikings' training camp in Mankato, and with that we'll begin to learn more and more about an offensive line the Vikings are hoping shows dramatic improvements from last year.
Teddy Bridgewater was an immense amount of pressure last season, and to plug those leaking holes in the line the Vikings used free agency to sign guard Alex Boone and tackle Andre Smith. The projected starting offensive line this coming season is:
- LT – Matt Kalil
- LG – Brandon Fusco
- C – John Sullivan
- RG – Alex Boone
- RT – Andre Smith
Pro Football Focus made this fun note about that projected lineup: "The Minnesota offensive line has two first-team players and one second-team player from the 2012 PFF All-Pro Team."
And with that, it's boom or bust for the line in 2016. PFF explains:
"The Vikings own one of the most interesting offensive-line situations in the NFL. They have John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt returning from injury, and added Alex Boone (49ers) and Andre Smith (Bengals) via free agency. Most of their projected starters peaked anywhere from two to four years ago. If some combination of these players return to the high form they once exhibited, this can easily become a top-five unit. If that revival doesn’t occur, however, this will likely be a below-average line in 2016."
Again, this is assuming the offensive line actually looks like that. Joe Berger, Phil Loadholt and T.J. Clemmings could have plenty to say if they outperform any of the projected starters. In March, head coach Mike Zimmer said Boone is likely the only lock to be a starter.