Offensive line would not appear to be a huge need area for the Vikings going into the draft. Are they brimming over with talent at every position? No. Matt Kalil and John Sullivan are Pro Bowl level, but beyond that you have three serviceable guys. So the argument could be made that there are positions where you could upgrade. But by-and-large I don’t think people see the offensive line as an area that needs urgent attention. Not compared to some other areas of the roster.
Then again, maybe the Vikings aren’t as sold on their offensive line unit as we think. We know they like Phil Loadholt because they gave him a contract extension. And we already talked about the two Pro Bowlers. But what about the guards? Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco both had their ups and downs last year. Fusco found himself losing reps to Geoff Schwartz during the course of the season, and had Schwartz shown the coaches a little more physicality – yes Geoff, we know you were still recovering from an injury – Fusco likely would’ve lost his starting job.
So maybe Fusco or Johnson – or both – are on shakier ground than we think going into 2013? I don’t know. I do know there are some juicy offensive linemen out there waiting to be drafted. One of the better-known names is D.J. Fluker of Alabama. Fluker played on the outside in college, but there is a feeling that he might be better suited to play guard in the pros. The Vikings at least wanted to take a look at this guy and reportedly visited him. So did New England, Baltimore and Carolina.
Fluker actually looks like a second version of Phil Loadholt. He’s really big and not particularly quick. His value in the NFL would be as a run blocking right tackle and if the Vikings didn’t already have one of those he’d probably be a perfect fit in Minnesota. Right now he looks like a guy who would compete with Brandon Fusco or Charlie Johnson at guard. The question again is simple. Yes the O-line is far from perfect but is it a significant enough need area to spend a first round pick on? I would say no. Maybe the Vikings are thinking this guy could slip into the second. Or maybe they are worried enough about their guards to make a move on a lineman in the first round.