Mike Harris: Veteran gets first crack at RG, T.J. Clemmings back to tackle


David Dixon ain’t walking through that door for the Vikings, but Mike Harris is.

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As the Vikings begin camp, so too begins their quest to identify someone who came move in at right guard and replace Brandon Fusco, who has been switched over to left guard to help Matt Kalil.

Rookie T.J. Clemmings was given a look at right guard in early OTAs but that experiment seems to have ended, as the Vikings are now back to working the 4th round pick exclusively at tackle.

The remaining candidates to play alongside Phil Loadholt on the right side are a grab bag of rookies and journeyman. The first man to get a crack is veteran Mike Harris.

Despite struggling his way to a -6.6 PFF grade in 2014, mostly playing at right tackle, Harris was brought back to Minnesota this year and begins camp as the starting right guard.

Harris spoke to the media on Sunday about when he first learned of the decision to give him a shot at Fusco’s old spot (via 1500 ESPN):

"“A little bit after OTAs and minicamp,” Harris said. “Coach said I did a good job filling in for Phil [Loadholt], so he’s going to give me a shot. I’m happy with this opportunity.“It’s my time to fit in this line, wherever it is, tackle or guard. I want to play and start on this team.”"

If Harris falters, the Vikings have second-year player David Yankey, rookie Tyrus Thompson and grizzled vet Joe Berger lined up waiting for their chance.

The Vikes experienced heavy turn-over at the guard position this offseason, letting Charlie Johnson and Vlad Ducasse walk in free agency and losing Austin Wentworth to career-ending blood clots.

Free agent Evan Mathis remains on the market but it’s not believed the Vikings are interested in his services. That belief could rapidly change if someone doesn’t rise up and claim ownership over the right guard position.

Next: Audie Cole has chance to start

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