Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Brandon Fusco (63) blocks against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings win 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Top 25 Vikings of 2014: No. 7 OG Brandon Fusco

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Marching on with the countdown, the man at #7…

OG Brandon Fusco

The offensive guard from Slippery Rock has been one of the great success stories of Rick Spielman’s tenure. Drafted in the sixth round in 2011, the unheralded Fusco has developed gradually over the years into one of the better interior linemen in the NFL.

The numbers don’t lie. When PFF ranked the 2013 offensive lines, the Vikings finished sixth, and it was largely thanks to the right side of Phil Loadholt and Fusco. PFF called Fusco “a legitimate All-Pro candidate.”

You didn’t need the PFF scores to know that the Vikings’ run blocking on the right side was near-dominating. It wasn’t just Adrian Peterson either. Those guys even made Matt Asiata look good.

The Vikings have already locked up Phil Loadholt, arguably a top-five right tackle, to a long-term contract. Fusco is a free agent after the season but you have to believe the Vikings will extend him before he can hit the market. He, Loadholt and center John Sullivan are core players for this franchise.

Not bad for the sixth round pick out of tiny Slippery Rock who once seemed on the verge of losing his job to Geoff Schwartz. A tip of the cap to Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, who has done a marvelous job developing Fusco, Sullivan and Loadholt. There’s a reason the Vikings decided to bring Davidson back.

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