For the second straight offseason the Vikings have to rebuild the offensive line – and it's not going to be a simple chore.
Without a first-round pick (traded to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford) it's unlikely Minnesota will land one of the top offensive linemen in the draft. According to Sports Illustrated, Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson is the top lineman in the draft, followed by Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk and Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey. As it stands entering Week 16, the Vikings' first selection will be the 14th pick in the second round.
None of those three, nor any other linemen, are projected to go until pick 29 in the first round of SB Nation's latest mock draft. In short, the 2017 draft is not considered a great offensive line draft.
Free agency could be Minnesota's answer for a second straight year. The top tackle expected to hit free agency is Terron Armstead of the New Orleans Saints. Pro Football Focus says it's only a matter of time before he's in the Pro Bowl every year.
Overall, five of Pro Football Focus' top 10 2017 offensive free agents are offensive linemen.
- Terron Armstead, LT, Saints
- Ryan Schraeder, RT, Falcons
- Cordy Glenn, LT, Bills
- Kevin Zeitler, G, Bengals
- David DeCastro, G, Steelers
According to Yahoo Sports, Schraeder is the best tackle in this year's free-agent class.
Other names the Vikings could take a look at is Detroit Lions tackle and South Dakota-native Riley Reiff and 35-year-old veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth of Cincinnati.
Minnesota's in-house options include bringing back T.J. Clemmings and Jeremiah Sirles. Or, they could look to re-sign Matt Kalil or give 2016 free-agent signee Andre Smith another shot. Smith will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The interior of Minnesota's line, if they decide to stay with it, is all signed through next season. Right guard Brandon Fusco is signed through 2019, left guard Alex Boone is signed through 2019 and center Joe Berger doesn't become a free agent until 2018.