In what was easily the most shocking move outside the Stefon Diggs trade last week, the Vikings released their starting right guard Josh Kline.
Kline was the team’s second-best offensive lineman in 2019 and even though he did miss some games due to concussions, he played great when he was on the field.
Kline opened up holes in the running game and gave Kirk Cousins ample protection in the pocket. The worst part about the release was it only saved Minnesota $3.369 million in cap space and Kline was much more valuable than that.
The Vikings either think Dru Samia can step up and fill the void, believe Pat Elflein won’t suck in 2020, or like the guards available in the 2020 NFL Draft. Even if they do think Samia and Elflein are the answer, they still have no depth behind them.
Guard now shoots way up Minnesota’s need list and it is one they are going to have to address in this year’s draft perhaps even more than once.
It’s doubtful the Vikings would take a guard with one of their two first-round picks. There are bigger issues to address and if the team took a guy like Cesar Ruiz, it would likely anger many fans.
After the Vikings’ moves in free agency, guard went from being a secondary need to a primary one. There is still an outside chance the team is able to bring Kline back for 2020. But if they can’t, expect a fairly early draft choice to be used on this position.