For a couple years now, the Minnesota Vikings have shown stability along their offensive line. They have graded out well by Pro Football Focus and are one of the strengths of an otherwise inconsistent offense.
Last year’s starting offensive linemen have all returned from last year. Here was the lineup:
Looking at this lineup, it should be fairly obvious that the weak link is at left guard and his name is Charlie Johnson.
Johnson’s position may be in more jeopardy than he might think. This new coaching staff shows no allegiance to the starters of the past and he will have to beat out some pretty tough competition to keep the starting gig.
This offseason alone, Minnesota has brought multiple people to compete with him. Free agents Vladamir Ducasse and Joe Berger will compete, but the biggest competition could come from a fifth round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
If healthy, David Yankey is my favorite to win the job. Not only is his contract much more manageable than Charlie Johnson’s, but he is much more athletic than him.
Another hope for Charlie Johnson is that he will be the swing tackle for Minnesota, but even that could be a longshot. The Vikings have been in talks with their swing tackle from last year, J’Marcus Webb and got a steal in undrafted free agent Antonio “Tiny” Richardson.
The only thing really saving Johnson at this point is his contract. His deal is worth $5 million over two years with $1.5 million in guaranteed money. The guaranteed money would all be lost if the Vikings decide to release him. However, it would be a shame if the only reason Minnesota holds on to Charlie Johnson is because they overpaid for him and not because he has the talent to earn the job.