During the offseason, the Minnesota Vikings signed former Cincinnati Bengals’ right tackle Andre Smith to compete with Phil Loadholt for the right to start at that position for Minnesota. After Loadholt’s retirement, it looked like we could put Smith’s name in that spot in ink rather than in pencil.
After the first preseason game. . .not so much, apparently.
Following Smith’s relatively terrible performance in Minnesota’s preseason opener against his former team, Smith found himself on the second unit. The first-team right tackle was last year’s starter at the position, T.J. Clemmings. On Monday, Smith was back with the first team, but Clemmings was back in the #1 spot during Tuesday’s practice, the team’s last workout before the team headed to Seattle for their second preseason game.
On the first series of Friday night’s game, Teddy Bridgewater was repeatedly harassed, and it appeared that the majority of that pressure was Smith’s fault. Clemmings had a rough go of things as a starter as a rookie, but he wound up getting thrown into the fire early after Loadholt’s injury. He’s also been bounced back and forth between the left and right tackle spots this offseason in an attempt to find a spot for him.
Mike Zimmer has said that there was going to be a lot of competition along the offensive line this preseason. It appears that sentiment even extends to Smith, even though it appeared that his primary competition for a starting job announced his retirement just a couple of days before the start of this year’s Training Camp. In theory, if there is a competition between Smith and Clemmings for the starting right tackle job, whoever emerges victorious will be better after having to fight for that spot. For the sake of Teddy Bridgewater’s health, we’d better hope so.