4 changes the Vikings should try against the Lions in Week 17

(Photo by Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Bailey
(Photo by Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Bailey /
2 of 5
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Ezra Cleveland /

Move Cleveland over to left tackle

Most assumed the Vikings took Ezra Cleveland in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft to be the team’s left tackle of the future. It was expected that he wouldn’t see the field much this season as the team still had Riley Reiff under contract for another couple of years.

Reiff was nearly cut in the offseason, but the team restructured his deal and he has played extremely well this year. This pretty much made it a guarantee that Cleveland wouldn’t be seeing any action at his future position, barring an injury to Reiff. So instead of lining up at tackle, Cleveland was moved inside to guard.

After Pat Elflein and Dru Samia were lost to injury, Cleveland got his chance to play at right guard for Minnesota.

He initially played better than the two that had the role before him, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but he has struggled in recent weeks. With the Vikings having nothing to play for in Week 17, they might as well try him out at left tackle and see how he does.

If given the opportunity, Cleveland would face some stiff competition in Detroit’s Everson Griffen and Romeo Okwara. It would be a nice trial by fire for the rookie offensive lineman.

Minnesota recently signed rookie Kyle Hinton to the active roster, which means they have another guard they could plug-in if they try Cleveland out at left tackle, even if it is only for the second half.