News of the Vikings acquiring DT Dalvin Tomlinson was the first big splash of Vikings free agency this year. And then the news, a bit more surprising, that the Vikings also have acquired long-time veteran and All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, formerly with Arizona.
Combine that with a couple minor deals, and it would seem the Vikings meager cap space hath all but run dry.
And yet there may yet be another big splash for the Vikings in the works - for a rather large, 6’8”, 345 pound tackle currently with the Ravens named Orlando Brown Jr..
Darren Wolfson is a local beat reporter and goes on to mention that OL and DB are positions the Vikings may yet target in free agency. He thinks there is one more big move coming.
Acquiring Orlando Brown Jr. would be a trade as he’s under contract- the last year of his rookie deal. But Brown is seeking a trade as he wants to play left tackle, rather than right tackle where he’s started for the Ravens. The Ravens already have a good left tackle in Ronnie Stanley, so the Ravens are reluctantly looking to make a deal.
What makes this work for the Vikings is that it wouldn’t cost them much cap space this year. They would want to extend Brown, and that would be a big cap hit in future years, but this season he’s only a $3.6 million cap hit. The Vikings are loaded with mid-round picks, and I’m sure they’d be willing to part with at least a couple of them to acquire Brown. Who knows, they may even through in a guy like Mike Hughes.
The key of course for both Brown and the Vikings is to secure a long-term deal, which would likely be an expensive one- $15 million/year at least. Of course the Vikings aren’t the only team talking to Brown and the Ravens about his services, but they do have a lot of draft capital to work with in this year’s draft, so that could work in their favor.
As a point of reference, when Washington traded Trent Williams last season, who’s older, but also a proven left tackle and higher graded, they got a 5th round pick from the 49ers and a future 3rd round pick. So, the Vikings could possible give up a couple of their 4th round picks to secure a long-term deal with Brown.
Brown ended up playing a lot of left tackle last season for the Ravens, as Stanley was injured, and actually had his best PFF graded season of his young career - 77.7 overall grade, 77.8 in pass pro, 73.3 in run blocking. He gave up 3 sacks, 1 hit, and 24 hurries with 5 penalties. He’ll turn 25 in a couple months, and really is just entering his prime.
Brown had one of the worst Combine performances in recent memory, running the 40 in 5.85 seconds while only benching 14 reps. His broad jump and 20-yard shuttle were also terrible - bottom 1-2 percentile. That of course hit his draft stock and he went from maybe a late 1st to a 3rd round pick. But he comes from good NFL bloodlines as he father was a formidable left tackle with the Browns and Ravens from 1993-2005.
He’s not the classic zone-scheme blocker by any means, but left tackle can be something of a different animal as the primary responsibility is pass protection on an island against typically the opposing defense’s best pass rusher. From a run blocking perspective, Brown can close off the edge without problem, and while I’ve seen him make some decent blocks downfield as a puller, he’s like most left tackles: pass protection first, can seal off the edge on a run, and occasionally make a good second level block. His 2020-21 highlights show that:
Whether or not the Vikings can actually close a deal with Brown and Ravens remains to be seen - Trent Williams didn’t work out last year - but it’s something apparently they’re working on.
Would you be happy with Orlando Brown Jr. as the long-term solution at left tackle for the Vikings?
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