Offensive line depth needs to come from within
Last year the Vikings saw three undrafted rookie free agents stick around with the team in one form or another - OT Chase Johnson made the 53-man roster (though he was inactive for 15 games), OG Brian Daniels was on the active roster for two games and spent the rest of the season on the practice squad, and C-OG Dan Mozes spend the entire year on injured reserve after blowing out his knee early in training camp.
This year, the Vikings drafted C John Sullivan in the sixth round. They also paid a reported $23,000 signing bonus to land USC offensive lineman Drew Radovich as an undrafted free agent and also signed former Stanford C Tim Mattran.
Even the early OTAs this week will begin to give the Vikings coaching staff an idea of just how much potential these younger, developmental players might offer.
According to offensive line coach Pat Morris in a recent Sid Hartman report, you're able to evaluate their mental prowess and footwork even without pads on.
Johnson is a huge man who could surprise some people down the road as big men tend to be late bloomers. He didn't set the world on fire during training camp or preseason a year ago, but the Vikings didn't "carry" him on their active roster all last season for no reason at all. They obviously see something in terms of upside potential there.
The same is true of Daniels, who might offer swingman versatility in the long run with an ability to fill in at just about any spot along the offensive line.
They also like Mozes at center and guard or they would likely have released him with an injury settlement a year ago.
Radovich was one of the highest-rated prospects to go undrafted and could eventually develop into a starting-caliber player at right guard or right tackle at some point. Despite being a free agent rookie, he has a very good chance to make the team.
Most think Sullivan was a real bargain where he was drafted, and some see him as the heir apparent to Matt Birk at center.
Mattran also offers some versatility, is big, smart and might be able to provide some depth at multiple positions, as well. He could be a strong practice-squad candidate.
Overall, these second- and third-team units on the offensive line are noticeably better than the players the Vikings went to training camp with even a year ago. The hope is that they could find and develop a gem or two from this group of prospects.
Monday Evening Audibles:
New Mexico Wildcats (Arena Football League) coach Floyd Johnson said that Wildcat receiver Darren Haliburton has received an invitation to the Vikings' training camp in July.
Brad Childress has moved up on the head coach power rankings.
Only RB coach Eric Bienemy could get Adrian Peterson to wear a Colorado Buffaloes shirt for a week.
The son of former Vikings OG Terry Tausch hopes to follow in his father's footsteps as a kicker.
The Packers and Vikings are co-favorites to win the NFC North Division, at 7-to-4.
Former Vikings receiver Jake Reed is involved in the inaugural Frisco Thunder Ultimate Flag Football Challenge.
Adrian Peterson is shooting for 2,000 yards this season.
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