Alex Leatherwood – LT (Alabama)
vs. #2 LSU
- When: Saturday, November 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL
- TV: CBS
There is still a noticeable problem on the offensive line for the Vikings this season. Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood is a stud up front and he has experience both on the interior and at tackle.
Leatherwood entered the season as Alabama’s starting left guard, but he has spent considerable time at left tackle as well. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound mover is exactly what Minnesota needs. He is a powerful paver up the middle with a big frame to help in the run game.
This weekend, he will be challenged with the task of slowing down the LSU pass rush. If he can keep up with the speed of K’Lavon Chaisson, Alabama will be in good shape.
Pat Elflein has struggled a bunch for the Vikings this year. Riley Reiff has stepped up this season, but he will be 31 before the start of the 2020 NFL Draft. Drafting a guy like Leatherwood allows Minnesota to have an immediate upgrade at left guard and a potential future starting left tackle.
The Vikings could also look at Alabama’s right tackle, Jedrick Wills Jr. who is a phenomenal athlete and utilizes excellent footwork on the outside. However, Minnesota has a good right tackle in Brian O’Neill, so the need for a tackle is not as pressing as that of an interior lineman.
It is no guarantee that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will play on Saturday. If he does suit up, he will not be fully healthy. Protecting him and keeping him comfortable in the pocket will be the key to success and it all starts up front with Leatherwood.