Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings are bringing in another draft prospect to Winter Park.
The team will host NDSU offensive tackle Billy Turner on April 17th, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com. The visit will likely consist on an on-field workout conducted by offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, pictured above, as well as a facilities tour and some time on the chalkboard.
Turner is set to be a busy man over the next few weeks, as Brandt reported that he is visiting with the Buccaneers, Rams and Dolphins in the near future, in addition to visiting the Cowboys and Panthers twice each.
Turner, a Shoreview, Minnesota native, started his college career at right tackle during his freshmen season, starting 12 games. He moved to left tackle the following year, and started 44 straight games for the Bison. During that span, Turner won three straight FCS Championships with the team.
Turner is measured at 6-feet-5-inches and 315 pounds. He may shift inside to guard at some point in his career, according to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, and it’s unclear whether the Vikings view him as more of a tackle or a guard prospect.
Turner is the ninth rated offensive tackle and 76th player overall according to CBS Sports.
While the Vikings appear to be set with their starting offensive tackle duo with Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, the team could still be looking to add depth at the position. The team’s swing tackle from last year, J’Marcus Webb, is a free agent and still unsigned. Webb started one game for the Vikings in 2013, but his issues in pass protection were clearly noticeable.
The only other offensive tackle on the Vikings roster from last year is Mike Remmers, who was claimed off of waivers from the Chargers in late November. Remmers saw snaps in one game at left tackle for the Chargers but he suffered a high ankle sprain and was released. Remmers was inactive for all his games with the Vikings.
It’s interesting that the Vikings are showing interest in a valued offensive line prospect after plenty of activity on that front in free agency. The Vikings re-signed guards Charlie Johnson and Joe Berger and also added guard Vladimir Ducasse.
Maybe the Vikings think Turner could be their next swing tackle, or maybe think he could provide better value competing at guard. Either way, Rick Spielman is sending signals that he’s still not content with the way the Vikings offensive line depth chart looks right now.