When free agency started about six weeks ago or so, the Minnesota Vikings knew that they had to do something about their offensive line. After enduring a disaster in 2016, they sought to fix the offensive tackle position, and did so by signing a couple of big money free agents to bookend the line in 2017. A lot of the more established tackles they had at the start of last season have moved on, so what do they have there now? Let’s take a look at the depth chart here.
The Big Ticket - Riley Reiff
After missing out on. . .or possibly not pursuing. . .some of the bigger free agent tackles, the Vikings wound up raiding a division rival for help shoring up the offensive tackle position. Reiff played both the left and right tackle spots in his time with the Detroit Lions, and in a perfect world would probably be the team’s right tackle. However, since this isn’t a perfect world, he’s going to start on the left side. After a couple of seasons of watching Matt Kalil and T.J. Clemmings stumble around at the position, Reiff should at least bring some stability. I’d expect him to be average at worst, which is a hell of a lot better than this team has had at the position since 2012.
Welcome Back - Mike Remmers
Remmers started his NFL career on the Vikings’ practice squad, and managed to develop himself into getting a starting spot on a team that went 15-1 and went to a Super Bowl. Yeah, people like to go on about what Von Miller did in that Super Bowl, but just between you, mean, and the monitor. . .whispers. . .Von Miller kind of does that to a lot of offensive tackles. Remmers isn’t a superstar tackle or anything, but again after what the Vikings’ offensive line looked like last season, he doesn’t have to be. He just has to, generally, be “not awful.” I’m pretty sure that he can pull that off.
Your Guess Is As Good As Mine - T.J. Clemmings
Remember right after the 2015 NFL Draft when we all thought that Clemmings was a huge steal and someone to build the line around in the future? I. . .yeah, we’ve missed on that one so far. Clemmings was not good as a right tackle as a rookie and was an absolute disaster at left tackle last season. Now, with Reiff and Remmers at the tackle positions, I’m not sure what the team intends to do with Clemmings. Frankly, I’m not sure if he can be salvaged at this point. I mean, I’d like to think that he could be, but I’m really not sure.
A Glimmer Of Hope - Rashod Hill
Hill is an interesting case. The Vikings took him off of the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, and he didn’t see much time until the season finale against Chicago. In that game. . .which, granted, came against a Bears’ team that was already mentally at the beach. . .he played as good a game as any Vikings’ tackle played all season. The sample size is small, to be sure, but I’m thinking that Hill showed enough to stick as a potential swing tackle for the Vikings. Honestly, as things stand right now, there aren’t a whole lot of other options.
The Rest - Reid Fragel, Marquis Lucas, Austin Shepherd
These are the other three offensive tackles the Vikings have listed on the roster right now. Shepherd was cut by the Vikings, bounced around for a bit, and is now back with the team. He saw some time as a third tight end in “jumbo” packages as a rookie, but that’s about it. That’s more than I know about either Fragel or Lucas. I’m not sure how much of a shot any of them have of making the roster, particularly if the Vikings draft a tackle next weekend at all.
As we’ve been doing, we’ll next look at who some of the potential targets the Vikings might have at offensive tackle in next weekend’s NFL Draft.