Vikings Use Draft to Beef Up Depth On Offensive, Defensive Lines


Half the Vikings’ ten draft picks this year were spent on offensive and defensive line players, and of those five picks, only DE Danielle Hunter and OT T.J. Clemmings have a great shot of ever becoming starters. Of those two, Clemmings is the one who has the better shot of seeing action as a rookie.

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LSU’s Hunter is a project player who has a slim chance of seeing action in year 1, but more likely will be red-shirted much as Scott Crichton was last year. 6th round D-lineman B.J. DuBose is a pure depth pick by Mike Zimmer who famously loves to rotate his up-front players.

Beyond Clemmings’, the Vikings two other O-line additions were Tyrus Thompson of Oklahoma and Austin Shepherd of Alabama. It isn’t expected that either player will be in the mix as a starter in the near future but both have the right traits to figure as solid backups.

Thompson has some physical ability but is seen as a bit of a low-effort player who might have some character issues. Shepherd is a high-effort, hard-working type who overcomes a lack of talent by using technique.

Clearly the Vikings didn’t draft either Thompson or Shepherd with an eye toward making them starters, they just wanted to beef up their O-line depth in a big way. After last year’s rash of injuries on the line, the Vikings don’t want to get caught scrambling again. They want to make sure that their bench is stocked with players who have been trained in their system from the get-go and can enter in a pinch if someone gets hurt.

This is the luxury of having 10 picks in the first round: you can pick up depth players and train them in your scheme. The Vikings hopefully won’t be stuck having to sign street free agents if someone goes down this year.

Next: Is Trae Waynes Overrated Garbage?

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