T.J. Clemmings will move to left tackle this year, Mike Zimmer said in a radio interview.
He started all sixteen games at right tackle in 2015, but the Vikings signed Andre Smith and brought back Phil Loadholt, so T.J. Clemmings will have to shift over to left tackle for 2016.
Coach Mike Zimmer revealed the move during a post-draft interview with Sirius XM radio (per St. Paul Pioneer-Press).
Starter Matt Kalil is making $11.1 million this year and is in no danger of losing his job, but Clemmings could still give him a little push in the back.
This is the first time in Kalil’s Vikings career that he’s had a starting-caliber player backing him up. Maybe that’s exactly what he needs.
Though Kalil will almost certainly retain his starting job this year, Clemmings could end up replacing him down the road.
Kalil is playing on the last year of his contract and needs to show the Vikings and new offensive line coach Tony Sparano he’s worth keeping.
It will be very interesting to see how Kalil responds to Sparano’s coaching. The Vikings say they want their offensive line to be “nastier” this year.
Kalil does play with a bit of a nasty streak but at times he seems to over-think. He has also been hampered by knee problems.
Maybe Sparano’s approach, plus the presence of Clemmings behind him, will push Kalil to get better. Oh and there’s that extra motivation of being in a contract year.
The Vikings at least know now that, if Kalil struggles, they have a former starter backing him up. Of course Clemmings wasn’t exactly great last year, especially in pass protection, but maybe the light will go on for him with Sparano helping him out.
The Vikes have made plenty of other adjustments on their line this offseason, including signing Alex Boone to play left guard, switching Brandon Fusco to right guard and drafting Willie Beavers to also play guard.