The Vikings have lined up another free agent visit. On Monday they will host Geoff Schwartz, a 330 pound OT/OG who became an unrestricted free agent when the Carolina Panthers elected not to place a tender on him. Schwartz was drafted by Carolina in the seventh round in 2008 but rose from that humble beginning to become a full time starter in 2010. Then things went south for him. In 2011 he suffered a hip injury and missed the entire season. Like John Carlson, who also missed all of last year, Schwartz has been deemed healthy. Besides the Vikings, he has drawn interest from the Chiefs and Lions.
Rick Spielman continues to scour the league in search of younger guys who can come in and at least fill a role if not compete for a starting position. Schwartz is 25, so he’s right in the wheelhouse age-wise. He might not necessarily crack the starting line-up at either guard or tackle but he will give somebody a run for their money. And if he doesn’t bump anyone from the top line he at least provides value as a versatile back-up.
On the surface it appears Schwartz’s best chance to become a starter would be at guard, since we all assume Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt will be the bookend tackles next year, but let’s not assume too much too quick. Kalil still hasn’t been drafted and Loadholt has not exactly lived up to expectations the last few years. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the Vikings to bring in another young, big offensive lineman to compete with Loadholt. The advantage with Schwartz is that he could be in the mix for any of four spots depending on how things shake out. Center should be the only position that’s considered in lock-down mode on the Vikings line.