Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Last nine drafts catching up to Vikings' O-line

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Bears, NFC, Packers, Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Percy Harvin, Phil Loadholt Updated: October 5, 2011 - 7:29 AM

As most fans know and gripe about on a regular basis, the Vikings could use a better offensive line. Especially with the grind-it-out, no-room-for-error style of offense they hope to win with.

Looking at the past nine drafts, it's little wonder the Vikings don't have a dominant offensive line. The team has not chosen an offensive lineman in the first round since taking Bryant McKinnie seventh overall in 2002.

That's not to suggest the team should have taken an offensive lineman over Kevin Williams in 2003, Chad Greenway in 2006, Adrian Peterson in 2007 and Percy Harvin in 2009. Or that trading the first-round pick in 2008 for Jared Allen was a bad idea.

No, this just points out that if you put the offensive line on the back burner long enough, there's going to be issues on the field eventually. And eventually has been around the past couple years.

Every other team in the NFC North has selected at least one offensive lineman in the first round since 2002. The Bears and Packers have done it twice. The Packers have done it in the past two drafts.

In the past nine years, the Vikings have gone three entire drafts (2003, 2004 and 2007) without selecting an offensive lineman. They've taken only three in the second round. Two of them (Marcus Johnson in 2005 and Ryan Cook in 2006) are gone. One of them (Phil Loadholt) is starting.

Overall, the Vikings have taken seven offensive linemen in the past nine drafts. Four of them were selected in the fifth round or lower. Two of them (DeMarcus Love and Brandon Fusco) were selected in the sixth round this year.



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