The Vikings’ starter at left guard this season could be … Brandon Fusco?
In a recent conversation with our Sid Hartman, head coach Mike Zimmer revealed the Vikings “have actually been looking at Brandon Fusco moving over to left guard.” Fusco played right guard in his first four NFL seasons.
The Vikings still have a void at left guard after they did not add a veteran guard in free agency or use one of their early draft picks at that position.
Charlie Johnson was the starter there a year ago and he performed poorly, leading to his release after the season. Left tackle Matt Kalil also struggled mightily, in part because he couldn’t get on the same page as Johnson even though they had been lining up next to each other since the 2012 season.
The Vikings brought back Joe Berger, a valuable reserve at all three inside positions. He started nine games at right guard last season after Fusco tore his pectoral in a Week 3 loss to the Saints and went on injured reserve. Berger is capable of playing right guard again if Fusco does switch sides.
Zimmer also told Sid that the Vikings are considering fourth-round pick T.J. Clemmings at right guard. Clemmings played right tackle in college. But at the team’s rookie minicamp two weeks ago he lined up at guard some, too.
Still, considering that Fusco is comfortable at right guard and was one of the NFL’s better players at the position, why would the Vikings move him?
Zimmer didn’t say, but there is certainly some logic in moving Fusco next to Kalil in the hopes it will help the 2012 first-round pick reclaim his game.
Of course, the Vikings would then have a void at right guard, which some feel is the more important of the two guard positions because teams often slide their protection to the left, leaving the right guard and right tackle in 1-on-1 blocking situations. However, the money that is being handed out shows that NFL teams are valuing left guards more than right guards.
Anyway, it’s the middle of May and players aren’t even wearing helmets yet. So we will see if the Fusco switch becomes permanent or if they are just tinkering around. Either way, though, it’s an interesting development.