Minnesota Vikings: Examining the options at center and right guard


The Minnesota Vikings have lots of options on the interior of their offensive line.

The Vikings last year were forced to scramble on their O-line after long-time center John Sullivan went down with a back injury. Journeyman Joe Berger played well in relief but Sullivan is expected to get back his starting job.

Right guard was surprisingly not an issue last year after Mike Harris was shifted from tackle. This year Harris will have to duke it out with Brandon Fusco for the starting spot.

Let’s take a moment and run down the current depth at center and right guard.


Option #1: John Sullivan

Pluses: Stalwart veteran. Tough as nails. Great leader.

Minuses: Missed an entire season due to a lower back injury. The injury has a good chance of recurring.

Verdict: The Vikings are saying positive things about Sullivan’s health but we won’t really know if he can still play at his former level until he gets out there and does it.

Option #2: Joe Berger

Pluses: Highly experienced veteran. Graded out as one of the NFL’s best run blockers last year.

Minuses: He’s getting up there in years. Can he continue playing at the same level he did last year?

Verdict: Berger bailed the Vikings out when Sullivan was injured. He gives them a solid insurance policy at the center position.

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Option #3: Nick Easton

Pluses: Somebody on the Vikings must have liked him for them to pick him up in the Gerald Hodges trade.

Minuses: He’s pretty much of an unknown quantity at this point.

Verdict: Has a decent shot to make the team as a backup.

Option #4: Zac Kerin

Pluses: Has the same trainer as Alex Boone and Boone speaks highly of him.

Minuses: Still young and raw.

Verdict: The Vikings likely will not keep both Easton and Kerin. The latter seems like he has more upside.

Right guard

Option #1: Brandon Fusco

Pluses: Played at a high level at right guard two years ago.

Minuses: Played at a low level at left guard last year.

Verdict: If he can get back to where he was in 2014, he could be a strong player for the Vikings.

Option #2: Mike Harris

Pluses: Surprisingly effective last year after being moved from right tackle.

Minuses: Seems limited to playing guard. Would have more value if he were any good at playing tackle.

Verdict: Is a candidate to be cut, especially if Sullivan returns to full-strength and Berger settles back into his all-around backup role.

Option #3: Joe Berger

Pluses: Before he started at center, Berger was a top-drawer backup guard.

Minuses: None.

Verdict: Berger is a good player but I like him better as a backup than a starter.

Option #4: Willie Beavers

Pluses: Very athletic.

Minuses: Very raw.

Verdict: We are unlikely to see much of Beavers in year one. He will likely work mostly at left guard anyway.

Option #5: Isame Faciane

Pluses: Has been in the system for a few years.

Minuses: Is a converted defensive lineman still learning how to play offensive line.

Verdict: Faciane seems very personable and is probably a fun guy to have around on the practice squad.

Next: What if the D fails to progress?

Prediction: Sullivan returns at center. Fusco wins the right guard job. The Vikings keep Kerin over Easton. Mike Harris hangs on. Joe Berger ends up starting at some point during the season.