Jake Lacina – C
Jake Lacina was an undrafted center out of Augustana. His father was a former Vikings offensive lineman, so he knows what it takes to make it in the NFL, and he has a general idea of how teams operate at the professional level. That gives him an advantage over some of Minnesota’s other players, but he also has plenty of skill.
Lacina was the Rimington Award winner at the D-II level for the nation’s best center. He’s extremely experienced, having played in every game at college.
He’s strong, technically sound, and he would have had a decent shot to make the Vikings’ final roster in a normal year, as the depth chart ahead of him isn’t all that daunting. However, with the recent news that Brett Jones is getting reps as Minnesota’s second-team center and Dakota Dozier was also taking snaps at center, that does not bode well for Lacina’s chances.
If the Vikings are experimenting with Dozier in the middle, instead of Lacina, the practice squad seems like the most likely landing spot for this rookie.
Blake Brandel – OT
Minnesota took Blake Brandel in the sixth round of last April’s NFL Draft. He played both right and left tackle in college and he boasts good size at 6-foot-7. Brandel does lack elite physical traits and there has been some talk that the Vikings might move him inside to guard.
The guard competition for Minnesota is truly wide open. But even with things being up for grabs, Brandel’s chances to make the regular-season roster are still slim.
He is already behind Dozier, Pat Elflein, Dru Samia, Ezra Cleveland, Aviante Collins, and even Oli Udoh if they slide him inside. If Brandel wants his NFL career to continue, he’ll likely have to focus on playing well enough to earn himself a spot on the practice squad this year.