As you've no doubt heard by now. . .and seen right here on The Daily Norseman. . .the Minnesota Vikings made their first move, signing guard Alex Boone. Boone, formerly a member of the San Francisco 49ers. . .and, yes Ted, the Ohio State Buckeyes. . .went undrafted in 2009, and has played all seven of his NFL seasons with the Niners after choosing them as an undrafted free agent.
Since I don't really know a whole lot about Boone, I went to the source, that being David Fucillo of Niners Nation. I asked him what he thought of Boone, and he gave me some strengths and weaknesses of his game.
Strengths: He has been a strong guard for the 49ers, but when he has filled in for Joe Staley due to injury, he has been as good, and possibly better. My guess is he wants to play tackle somewhere, but either way, you get tremendous versatility with Boone. He's a behemoth of a man, and can have the kind of nasty in-game edge you want in your linemen. The 49ers primarily ran a lot of power, but began a switch to more zone blocking this past year. He was solid enough this year, but I can't say for certain how he might switch to a more regular usage of zone-blocking.
Weaknesses: While he has an edge on the field, there are times where I am not quite sure what to make of his attitude. After Jim Harbaugh left, Boone was interviewed in an HBO special and he mentioned how Harbaugh was a hard-ass, and while it worked initially, "after a while, you just want to kick his ass. . . . He just keeps pushing you, and you're like, ‘Dude, we got over the mountain. Stop. Let go.' He kind of wore out his welcome." - Considering the 49ers had lost Super Bowl 47, and lost a pair of NFC title games, that rubbed fans the wrong way to a certain degree. I don't think he's lazy or anything like that, but that has kind of stuck in my mind.
So, to put it a little more bluntly, he's a very good offensive lineman, and he may or may not be a jerk. One of those things is much more important to me than the other.
The part that intrigues me is that Fooch says that Boone wants to play tackle somewhere. The tackle situation with the Vikings is very much in flux at this point, with Matt Kalil being retained on a very expensive option after a couple of rough years and Phil Loadholt agreeing to a pay cut to come back. If he really wants to play tackle, Minnesota wouldn't appear to be an ideal destination for him, but I'm sort of thinking that's not why the Vikings brought him in. Boone definitely has the size to play tackle, measuring in at 6'7" and around 330 pounds, but he hasn't played there in the NFL.
If he has the ability to play tackle, though, it would give the Vikings another player that could fill in at multiple spots along the offensive line. I'm very curious to find out what the plan is with him. Is he going to push for one of the tackle spots? Is he going to plug in at left guard and bump Brandon Fusco back over to right guard? Will he go straight to the right guard spot himself?
Either way, it would appear that the Vikings got themselves a very good player, as he is highly rated just about everywhere in the pre-free agency rankings. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has him as his #20 overall free agent (and #3 guard), SI.com had him at #54 in their top 100 (and #6 guard), Walter Football had him at #22 (and #3 guard), and Pro Football Focus had him at #42 (and #4 guard).
Alex Boone is the newest member of the Minnesota Vikings, folks. What does everyone think of this one?