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.

If Vikings find new left tackle, Charlie Johnson likely to move to guard

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier, Vikings draft Updated: February 24, 2012 - 11:54 AM

Will the Vikings use the No. 3 pick in April's draft on Southern Cal's Matt Kalil, who's widely regarded as the top offensive tackle available? That remains to be seen with general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier trying to make a determination on how important the left tackle position is in the grand scheme of things.

But even if the Vikings opted to pass on Kalil, they're confident they might be able to land a quality left tackle later in the draft -- perhaps in the middle to late stages of the first round if they decided to trade back or even at the top of Round 2 if necessary. Behind Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff, Stanford's Jonathan Martin, Ohio State's Mike Adams and Florida State's Zebrie Sanders are all worth keeping on the radar.

So what does all this mean for Charlie Johnson, who started all 16 games last season at left tackle? There's a strong chance Johnson will be asked to move inside to play guard, a scenario head coach Leslie Frazier openly discussed this morning.

Johnson, Frazier asserted, was dependable when he spent some time at guard during his five-year stint with the Colts. The Vikings believe the veteran lineman has enough power and agility to handle standout defensive tackles up front while also being able to burst out to the second level to take on linebackers.

"We know he’s able to do it at this level," Frazier said. "So there’s not any trepidation about moving him to guard. We think he’d do a very good job at guard if we went that route."


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