Mel Kiper has dropped his latest mock draft and the ESPN expert has the Vikings selecting OT Cody Whitehair from Kansas State.
In his first mock draft of the 2016 season, Mel Kiper guessed the Vikings would take WR Josh Doctson from TCU. In his second mock draft, Kiper has the Vikings addressing their offensive line situation by taking Cody Whitehair from Kansas State. As Kiper notes in his brief write-up, Whitehair played left tackle in college but may be better suited to playing guard (via ESPN Insider).
"The Vikings need help at both tackle and guard, and while Whitehair played left tackle, I’ve had him listed as a future NFL guard for two years now. If he comes off the board in this range, an inevitable (and fair) comparison will be Zack Martin, who Dallas drafted in 2014 as a left tackle they immediately plugged in at guard with great results."
I guess it’s just automatic now that whenever someone mentions a tackle who can play guard, Zack Martin’s name will come up. I’m guessing most Viking fans would be perfectly happy to have a Zack Martin-comparable player come in and strengthen the offensive line by bouncing Brandon Fusco.
It should be pointed out however that, thus far during his tenure as Vikings GM, Rick Spielman has been reluctant to spend high draft picks on interior offensive linemen.
Some would argue that Spielman’s unwillingness to draft a guard high was the reason the Vikings found themselves in the predicament they encountered last season.
All we know for sure is that the Vikings have to get better on the offensive line, and the logical place to start improving the talent is at left guard.
The left tackle situation is a little murkier, what with Matt Kalil being a former #4 overall pick who is owed $11.1 million in 2016 unless the Vikings cut him or re-work his deal.
Right guard is also a little bit sticky with Mike Harris hitting free agency. Most think the Vikings can re-sign Harris.
Right tackle presents a dilemma as well, with inconsistent second-year man T.J. Clemmings returning and former starter Phil Loadholt probably not returning. Do the Vikings go firmly with Clemmings or do they look for someone to at least compete for that job?
The only thing that seems certain right now? The Vikings are going to make some personnel changes on the offensive line. Whether they do that through the draft or through free agency or a little of both, time will tell.