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.

Vikings roster analysis: Offensive line

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: February 14, 2014 - 10:27 AM

We'll take a daily look at where the Vikings' roster stands at the moment position-by-position leading up to our NFL Combine coverage next week.

Position: Offensive line

On the roster: Jeff Baca, Joe Berger, Brandon Fusco, Matt Kalil, Phil Loadholt, Mike Remmers, Josh Samuda

Free agents: Charlie Johnson, J’Marcus Webb, Joe Berger

The Vikings will return four starters on their offensive line. The biggest concern will be the need at left guard, because Charlie Johnson is a free agent, but this is yet another solid unit on offense that Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner inherits.

Pro Football Focus labeled tackle Matt Kalil and guard Brandon Fusco as “solid starters/valuable role players” in its lineup projections. Fusco finished in PFF’s top-10 graded run blocking guards. Center John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt were “high quality starters,” with Sullivan having the potential to become an elite center.

Even in the absence of running back Adrian Peterson, the offensive line still created some nice running lanes for backups Toby Gerhart and Matt Asiata, who had a three-touchdown performance and a 100-yard game in the final two weeks of the season. The offense tied for the 10th most in sacks with 44, though it’d be difficult to blame every sack on the offensive line considering the quarterback play and some missed assignments by tight ends.

The offensive line played healthy through the 2012 season, but it had three players miss a game last season. Joe Berger was able to fill-in during games as a backup, but he’s also a free agent. Jeff Baca could be an option at left guard if Johnson, who will turn 30 by the start of next season, doesn’t return. Fusco will be a free agent after next season, so it would make sense for the Vikings to draft a guard regardless for depth and development purposes for the next two seasons.


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