Report: Vikings to go hard after one of the top 4 free-agent guards

A weak draft class of linemen means the Vikings will have to pay up for immediate improvements on the O-line.
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Yahoo's Charles Robinson is suggesting the Vikings, Falcons, Broncos, Lions, Colts and Jaguars are expected to get into a bidding war for the top three or four guards in free agency.

Those four, per Robinson, are:

  • Kevin Zeitler, Bengals
  • T.J. Lang, Packers
  • Ronald Leary, Cowboys
  • Larry Warford, Lions

Zeitler is expected to warrant a contract of $10 million per season, according to Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline. He's considered the best available free-agent guard.

Lang told ESPN that he'll inform the Packers of any offer he receives. If they can match the offer, there's a good chance he stays in Green Bay. It's worth noting that Lang is recovering from a broken foot suffered in Green Bay's season finale.

Leary is a beast when healthy. He helped pave the way for the Cowboys' dominant running game last season. According to the Mile High Report, Leary will get top dollar and the Broncos will go hard after him.

Warford has started at right guard for the Lions since 2013 and is expected to command about $9 million annually, according to Pauline.

ESPN's Ben Goessling agrees that Minnesota will likely "turn to free agency" to improve the offensive line. The draft is not considered a very deep draft for offensive line talent.

Vikings going best player available?

It appears the Vikings are approaching next month's NFL Draft with a mindset of taking the best player available. Minnesota doesn't own a pick in the first round, and they'll find out Friday if they get the 46th or 47th overall selection.

With all the talk about the Vikings needing to upgrade the offensive line, head coach Mike Zimmer is making it clear that maintaining the defense and finding offensive talent is on their minds.

"When we get down to it, we're going to try to figure out the best player we can pick ... wherever it is. It might be another corner or something like that," Zimmer said during his NFL Combine press conference Thursday. Obviously, we're going to look very hard at the offensive line. We're going to look in free agency and all these places to fill holes. I just want to be extremely careful that we don't rob Peter to pay Paul."

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