Past moves prevented the Vikings from drafting an offensive lineman first in 2018

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) T.J. Clemmings
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) T.J. Clemmings /

The Minnesota Vikings have not had a ton of recent success when it comes to selecting offensive lineman in the NFL Draft.

Since Rick Spielman was promoted to be the team’s general manager in 2012, the Minnesota Vikings have spent a total of 12 draft selections on offensive lineman. Of the 10 that were drafted before 2018, only two are still on the Vikings’ current roster (Pat Elflein and Danny Isidora)

That’s not a very good success rate.

Now, the fact that eight of these 10 lineman were drafted in the fourth round or later may have something to with this lack of success. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the best offensive lineman Spielman has drafted during his tenure as general manager was selected in the third round (Elflein).

This year, Spielman and Minnesota opted to pass up the opportunity to draft a new blocker in the first round yet again. Instead, they added Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O’Neill in the second round and Appalachian State guard Colby Gossett in the sixth round.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

There’s a chance that O’Neill could work out and develop into a solid blocker for a number of years. However, the recent past indicates that Gossett’s shot at a long career with the Vikings is not very high.

Instead of drafting an offensive lineman in the first round again this year, Minnesota went ahead and added another corner in UCF’s Mike Hughes to an already talented group of defensive backs.

Due to this, the Vikings ended up missing out on selecting one of this draft class’ top interior offensive lineman as most of the best blockers were gone by the time it came for Minnesota’s second-round selection.

Is it possible that the Vikings’ lack of success when it comes to drafting offensive lineman had to do with them not picking one in the first round this year? Did it cause them to go after someone who has a better chance to succeed on a team coached by Mike Zimmer?

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

There’s certainly a chance that this could have been the case. Minnesota also probably thought that one of the better interior blockers would still be around when it came time for them to make their second-round selection.

The majority of the Vikings’ best offensive lineman since 2012 have come from free agency (Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers, Joe Berger, Mike Harris). While Minnesota has whiffed on a couple of these free-agent signings too (Alex Boone, Andre Smith), they have definitely had more success adding veterans over selecting blockers in the draft.

Getting drafted in the first round is also far from a guarantee that an offensive lineman will play well in the NFL, especially recently. Of the 34 blockers selected in the first round since 2012, only eight (23.5 percent) have made the Pro Bowl.

Some could definitely argue that teams these days are better off adding an experienced free-agent offensive lineman to their roster rather than one from the first round of the draft.

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For the Vikings, this seems to be a strategy that they have been following for a number of years.