For a fourth straight Week 1, the Vikings will field a different starting five on the offensive line this season.
The fifth starter will replace right guard Joe Berger, who retired this offseason. The new right guard could be on the roster, or already in the starting lineup. The Vikings’ flexibility with last year’s right tackle, Mike Remmers, means a guard or tackle could be in play when they pick at No. 30 in the NFL Draft.
The Vikings have shown interest in top players at both positions, holding a private visit with Texas tackle Connor Williams earlier this month, a league source told the Star Tribune. They’ve also reportedly visited with Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, according to NFL Media.
Williams and McGlinchey are considered the draft’s top tackles by NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock.
“McGlinchey is going to be a really solid player. I think he’s going to be a second half of the first round guy and he’s going to be a starter
in the league for 10 years,” Mayock said. “Connor Williams, he had an up and down career at Texas. But he has first-round talent. After that, there’s some talent in the second and third rounds.”
However, the Vikings have been linked to more interior O-linemen from a class dubbed among the “deeper” seen by Mayock. General manager Rick Spielman attended Ohio State’s pro day and met with center/guard Billy Price. They’ve met multiple times with Arkansas C/G Frank Ragnow. The Vikings also reportedly had contact with C/G Scott Quessenberry (UCLA), G Matthew Gono (Wesley), G Dejon Allen (Hawaii) and C/G Brian Allen (Michigan State).
“[Isaiah] Wynn, [James] Daniels, [Will] Hernandez, Billy Price, maybe even Frank Ragnow, all are in that conversation of late one to mid two,” Mayock said. “I think it’s one of the deeper interior offensive line classes I’ve seen recently, especially at the top end. So what it comes down to is what kind of offense do you run? Are you looking for more of a zone guy? Are you looking for a gap guy? Hernandez is going to show out to a gap-scheme team that wants a mauler. Price is more of a zone-scheme guy at center or guard.”
A starting-caliber guard could be available at pick No. 30 or No. 62 for the Vikings, a year after landing center Pat Elflein at No. 70 in the draft.
Price, who is recovering from a partially torn pec suffered at the combine, sounds like the right fit. The Vikings moved to a predominantly zone run scheme last season after acquiring Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. The change trickled down into how the Vikings evaluate and acquire offensive linemen, per general manager Rick Spielman.
“When we started running outside zone, we were better at screen passes because we put a point of emphasis on the different traits than we may have done in the past,” Spielman said at the combine.
“There are some very good offensive linemen in this draft. What we have to determine as we go forward now is does he fit what you require him to do?”
Here’s a look at the Vikings’ current O-line situation:
LT: Riley Reiff / Rashod Hill / Aviante Collins / Storm Norton
LG: Nick Easton
C: Pat Elflein / Cornelius Edison / Josh Andrews
RG: Tom Compton / Danny Isidora
RT: Mike Remmers / Cedrick Lang / Dieugot Joseph
Salary cap: $24.75 million on offensive linemen, 27th-highest in the NFL, according to OverTheCap.com.