When the Minnesota Vikings used a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Ezra Cleveland, it was widely assumed that he would be slotted in as the team’s left tackle of the future when they eventually moved on from Riley Reiff. However, due to injury issues and other factors, Cleveland spent the second half of last season playing right guard for the purple. Now, it appears that he’s going to be switching things up again.
Lindsey Young of the Vikings’ official website is reporting that Cleveland has spent the opening portion of Organized Team Activities playing at left guard, next to first-round pick Christian Darrisaw. He sounds like he’s pretty excited about the move, as he’ll be able to draw on his experience at both the college and pro levels to make the transition.
“I think it’ll help me tremendously, just having that experience at guard and moving back to my natural side,” Cleveland told Twin Cities media members Wednesday. “I’m excited for that, and I’m excited for this year.”
Cleveland moving to left guard will open up a competition at the right guard spot that will hopefully be won by another rookie, Wyatt Davis. Yes, the team did sign last year’s starter at left guard, Dakota Dozier, to a one-year deal this offseason, but let’s be honest. . .at this point, the spot should be Davis’ to lose.
That would mean that we could probably dismiss all of the talk about Rick Spielman “ignoring” the offensive line. Assuming that Davis wins the starting spot at left guard, the Vikings’ starting o-line would consist of two first-round picks (Darrisaw and Garrett Bradbury), two second-round picks (Cleveland and Brian O’Neill), and a third-round selection (Davis). That’s just about as far from “ignoring” the offensive line as you can get in the National Football League.
With that being the case, we will hopefully see the offensive line take a step forward. As we’ve been saying for what seems like forever. . .probably because it has been. . .this team’s offensive line doesn’t have to be the Cowboys’ of the 90s or anything. They just have to be not awful. If they can get to that stage, the Vikings have the talent at the skill positions to put up points in bunches.