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The Often Overbearing, But Otherwise Ordinary Offensive Line

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10 minutes ago, JDBrocks said:

McGlinchey-Easton-Elflein-Isidora-Reiff

Even if Easton and Isidora don't pan out that well, getting McGlinchey would be really nice.

But that would be a nice and young offensive line.

I looked at Boone's cap # and this is the year that he'll still stay around and probably should, but next year it would be cap hit free getting rid of him.

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20 minutes ago, JDBrocks said:

It would be even better if Isidora pans out, and they could get McGlinchey.

 

McGlinchey-Easton-Elflein-Isidora-Reiff

That'd be awesome! I'm a little skeptical on Easton and Isodara being good enough to start but I fully expect at the very least they'd be capable back ups.

I do think Easton might be a better guard than center though.

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2 hours ago, The Gnat said:

I looked at Boone's cap # and this is the year that he'll still stay around and probably should, but next year it would be cap hit free getting rid of him.

Not saying that I think Boone should be cut this year. I do not. However, cutting him would save the team money this year and leave them with no dead hit on next year's cap. They would save $3.2M of his base salary this year and have $3.4M in dead money this year from the $3.4M of his salary that was guaranteed when the team did not cut him in early March this year.

Compare that to paying him the full $6.6M this year and you see that they are saving $3.2M by cutting him even while taking the $3.4M dead money hit. It would have no effect on cap or real dollars in future years.

The team would save more if another team picks him up. If he is claimed on waivers or a team takes him in trace the team would save the full $6.6M of his salary this year. If a team signs him after he passes through waivers there is almost certainly offset language that would give the Vikings dollar for dollar offset. Even if he gets league minimum (he easily would), that is another ~$800k (someone can look up minimum for a guy with Boone's years of service).

Basically, if Boone plays somewhere else this year the Vikings worst case scenario in cutting him would be saving about $4M. If he gets paid more than minimum it could get as good as saving $6.6M. There would be no dead hit left in 2018.

I would keep Boone for the $4M the team could save by cutting him, but if he is beat out by someone else for LG and the team thinks they have enough depth without him it wouldn't be a problem to cut him. Indeed, if the team has the depth a backup LG it is not generally worth $4M. I just don't think they have the depth to justify the $4M savings.

In fact, I still think Boone will win the starting job. We'll see.

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It's probably too late in the process, but if we think Easton should be starting at LG, why not move Boone to RG. I know Berger is solid but I'd rather see him as the top backup interior OL off the bench at his age if Easton is ready to start at G.

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I really don't care if Boone is making big money this year. If Easton looks better I run with him and put Boone as backup. 

However, I still feel Vikings roll with Boone starting at LG

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4 hours ago, CriminalMind said:

I really don't care if Boone is making big money this year. If Easton looks better I run with him and put Boone as backup. 

However, I still feel Vikings roll with Boone starting at LG

Agreed. Play the best players!!

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22 hours ago, VikeManDan said:

OL should definitely be #1 draft priority heading into the season. I think most would agree there. I wouldn't be opposed to trading up for a sure fire LT prospect if there is one. 

I think you have to wait and see how this season shakes out before you get that far ahead of yourself.  I'm expecting OL to be a big need next season, but safety needs addressed big time and has for years.  You have a special teamer in Sendejo masquerading as a starter out there after all, and he looks good compared to his backups that we see out there now in preseason.  Opposite Rhodes you have nothing IMO.  Definitely not impressed with Waynes or Alexander, and Newman is old as dirt for CB.  Barr is always injured and hitting FA soon, and you really only have 2 notable LBs right now and you start 3.  

But QB will be the biggest need, since none are under contract beyond this year.  Bradford will turn 30 in November and will hit FA next year.  Bridgewater is an afterthought to me.  If he's even that.  So if you can't, or choose not to resign Bradford, QB will trump OL, once again.  

Best case scenario:  Bradford plays well and is retained.  The young CBs develop and are at least decent starters.  The current OL of Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Berger and Remmers is solid, and you only need to worry about replacing 35 year old Berger who is probably going to retire.  Safety is a need regardless.  There is no possibility on the roster there to be a quality starter IMO.  So you go OL in 1, S in 2, LB in 3, or whatever order the value presents itself.  

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30 minutes ago, Magnus-Viktor said:

I think you have to wait and see how this season shakes out before you get that far ahead of yourself.

Doesn't mean we can't predict draft needs :D, Elflein is potentially the only long term starter on the line right now. Reiff and Remmers should be stop gaps and we have a ton of young, unproven players. I agree that it will be interesting to see how the OL performs as a unit this year.

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1 hour ago, Magnus-Viktor said:

I think you have to wait and see how this season shakes out before you get that far ahead of yourself.  I'm expecting OL to be a big need next season, but safety needs addressed big time and has for years.  You have a special teamer in Sendejo masquerading as a starter out there after all, and he looks good compared to his backups that we see out there now in preseason.  Opposite Rhodes you have nothing IMO.  Definitely not impressed with Waynes or Alexander, and Newman is old as dirt for CB.  Barr is always injured and hitting FA soon, and you really only have 2 notable LBs right now and you start 3.  

But QB will be the biggest need, since none are under contract beyond this year.  Bradford will turn 30 in November and will hit FA next year.  Bridgewater is an afterthought to me.  If he's even that.  So if you can't, or choose not to resign Bradford, QB will trump OL, once again.  

Best case scenario:  Bradford plays well and is retained.  The young CBs develop and are at least decent starters.  The current OL of Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Berger and Remmers is solid, and you only need to worry about replacing 35 year old Berger who is probably going to retire.  Safety is a need regardless.  There is no possibility on the roster there to be a quality starter IMO.  So you go OL in 1, S in 2, LB in 3, or whatever order the value presents itself.  

 

I think that's a pretty pessimistic view of the team.

Andrew Sendejo wasn't a world beater, but he was solid last year.  Anthony Harris and Antone Exum are solid backup safeties and Jayron Kearse is the future at SS and Sendejo's replacement.  In the preseason last year Kearse had 2 ints and 3 passes defended and so far this year he's had 1 pass defended and dropped an int last week against the Seahawks.  He's been amazing in the preseason and not mention a stand out on special teams.  Mike Zimmer is a DB guru and Jerry Gray is a very good DB coach.  If those two can continue to coach up Kearse and help him take better angles and play more assertively then he will have no problem taking over the SS spot and becoming the next George Iloka.  I only see safety as a day 3 draft need to provide competition in camp.

I don't know if you realize this, but it usually takes players a few years to develop before they are able to break into a starting role.  I'm not sure how you don't see anything at CB outside of Rhodes?  Yeah MacKenzie Alexander got burned a few times last week by Doug Baldwin in the slot, but that is to be expected since it's probably the best player that he has had to cover at this point in his career and it's only his second year in the league.  You may not remember, but Rhodes struggled his first two years in the league too.  According to Zimmer Alexander is on schedule with his development and there should be nothing to worry about there.  Yes Newman is old, but he is solid and hasn't given us any reason to doubt his abilities at all.  I don't know why you don't like Trae Waynes because he was actually really good last year; he led our entire team in passes defended for crying out loud!

In only 9 starts Trae Waynes had 3 ints, 11 passes defended, and 40 tackles compared to Xavier Rhodes who in 14 starts had 5 ints, 10 passes defended, and 44 tackles!

Those are pretty close numbers if you ask me.  Yes there were a few moments where Waynes looked a little awkward in coverage, but he didn't really get beat and he's so ridiculously fast that he is able to significantly play off of receivers to bait QBs into throwing towards him.    

Of course we could get better at our WLB spot, but Ben Gedeon has looked surprisingly good for a rookie at that spot.  We also have a ton of young developmental talent to compete for that spot between Gedeon, Edmond Robinson, Kentrell Brothers, Eric Wilson, and Elijah Lee.  Out of that group I'm sure we could find someone to fill that spot.  It would be great to have another top talent at WLB, but it is also one of the least important positions in our defense.  The WLB only plays about 1/3 of the defensive snaps since we play out of the nickel formation so often.  I would argue that while WLB is a need it isn't as big of a need as OL.

I don't see QB as a need at all either.  We have two good backup QBs in Keenum and Heinicke.  Sam Bradford is a very good starter.  Yes he will be 30 next year, but he easily has 5-6 good years left.  Bradford will sign an extension with us to be our starter or possibly compete with Teddy Bridgewater in camp next year if Bridgewater can get healthy.  While technically this is Bridgewater's last year under contract with us he will actually very likely be under contract with us next year as well.  Bridgewater has about two weeks to miraculously be able to get off of the PUP list otherwise the last year of his contract with us will toll over to next year.  If something happens and we don't have either of them after this year than yes QB would be a top need, but at this point we are very likely to be bringing both of them into camp next year.

Riley Reiff is a slight upgrade from Matt Kalil at OT if only for the reason that he is usually the healthier player, but he is an uninspiring tackle who frequently gets beat.  The nice thing about Reiff is that while he is about an average starter at least he has the versatility and experience to be able to play both tackle spots.  Alex Boone is an overpaid and overrated starting OG who I don't think should be on the roster next year, at least not on his current contract or in a starting role.  He is an ok pass blocker, but is way too tall to get leverage and win battles in the run game.  Pat Elflein is on par with Taylor Decker as the best OL to play at The Ohio State since Urban Meyer took over as head coach leading the team to multiple national championships and paving the way for big time RBs like Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde.  He was a steal in the 3rd and will be a high level starting OL for the next 10 years.  Joe Berger is retiring after this year.  Mike Remmers is a very good run blocker, but gets beat around the edge way to frequently.  Some of his deficiencies were masked in the past by Cam Newton's scrambling ability.  There is no way that Remmers should be on the roster as a starting tackle next year.  He could be a decent backup RT for us or could maybe slide into the RG spot, but other than that he doesn't have a roster spot.  I really like Nick Easton and he performed admirably last week against the Seahawks, but personally I think his future would be a better fit on our roster as a Joe Berger replacement where he can be a high quality backup for all 3 interior OL spots and a solid spot starter similar to what Berger did before Brandon Fusco got hurt.  I think between Easton, Remmers, or one of the other young developmental guys on the roster we should be able to find one OG starter.  The only reason that Boone and Remmers are starters on this roster is because we were desperate and couldn't bring in any better options.  That leaves us with Reiff at LT/RT, Elflein at C, and Easton/Remmers at OG.  This would leave us with two huge holes at OG and OT.

I think that we need to take 1 OT and 1 OG in the first two rounds and this year is looking to be a pretty solid draft year for OL.

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3 hours ago, Kparty15 said:

 

I think that's a pretty pessimistic view of the team.

I don't think it's pessimistic at all.  I laid it out very clearly with no bias.  I didn't say that is what is going to happen, just what COULD happen.

Andrew Sendejo wasn't a world beater, but he was solid last year.  Anthony Harris and Antone Exum are solid backup safeties and Jayron Kearse is the future at SS and Sendejo's replacement.  In the preseason last year Kearse had 2 ints and 3 passes defended and so far this year he's had 1 pass defended and dropped an int last week against the Seahawks.  He's been amazing in the preseason and not mention a stand out on special teams.  Mike Zimmer is a DB guru and Jerry Gray is a very good DB coach.  If those two can continue to coach up Kearse and help him take better angles and play more assertively then he will have no problem taking over the SS spot and becoming the next George Iloka.  I only see safety as a day 3 draft need to provide competition in camp.

Just like the announcers said in the last preseason game, Sendejo was a ST's stud, but the talent opposite Dirty Harry is sorely lacking.  The key word here is backup.  Not starter.  It is like an article I read this morning on Kaepernick.  Your backups are sometimes good mentors or role players (STers in this case).  They're not going to be quality every down players.  I don't see much out of Kearse either.  Way too slow to react.  It would be great if Zimmer could coach any of them up.  But I am looking at what I've seen out of guys thus far, not projecting vast improvement or miracles.  

I don't know if you realize this, but it usually takes players a few years to develop before they are able to break into a starting role.  I'm not sure how you don't see anything at CB outside of Rhodes?  Yeah MacKenzie Alexander got burned a few times last week by Doug Baldwin in the slot, but that is to be expected since it's probably the best player that he has had to cover at this point in his career and it's only his second year in the league.  You may not remember, but Rhodes struggled his first two years in the league too.  According to Zimmer Alexander is on schedule with his development and there should be nothing to worry about there.  Yes Newman is old, but he is solid and hasn't given us any reason to doubt his abilities at all.  I don't know why you don't like Trae Waynes because he was actually really good last year; he led our entire team in passes defended for crying out loud!

You could always see the raw ability and potential in Rhodes.  Alexander has terrible feet and barely played last year.  Waynes is too grabby, and lacks the COD, but he does at least have elite speed.  I like Newman, but he visibly wore down last year and he is going to be 40 years old after this season.  We're talking about the draft and future, so clearly he's rule out already, unfortunately.  I didn't close the door on the young guys improving.  I'm simply saying that as I personally see it, CB is as iffy as the OL is.  

In only 9 starts Trae Waynes had 3 ints, 11 passes defended, and 40 tackles compared to Xavier Rhodes who in 14 starts had 5 ints, 10 passes defended, and 44 tackles!

Those are pretty close numbers if you ask me.  Yes there were a few moments where Waynes looked a little awkward in coverage, but he didn't really get beat and he's so ridiculously fast that he is able to significantly play off of receivers to bait QBs into throwing towards him.    

Of course we could get better at our WLB spot, but Ben Gedeon has looked surprisingly good for a rookie at that spot.  We also have a ton of young developmental talent to compete for that spot between Gedeon, Edmond Robinson, Kentrell Brothers, Eric Wilson, and Elijah Lee.  Out of that group I'm sure we could find someone to fill that spot.  It would be great to have another top talent at WLB, but it is also one of the least important positions in our defense.  The WLB only plays about 1/3 of the defensive snaps since we play out of the nickel formation so often.  I would argue that while WLB is a need it isn't as big of a need as OL.

You neglected the fact that Barr is always hurt and might not be around still as a result.  You have to examine all variables when looking at the future.  Well, they can pick up his option for over 12 million, but his rookie deal is up and it's put up or shut up time for Barr.  There are decisions required for his future here.  Barr and Kendricks in the nickel, with Gedeon joining them in the base is likely better than the OL, but what happens when (not if, WHEN) Barr is hurt again, or if he leaves in FA?  You have Kendricks and a bunch of "maybes"?  Every guy you listed there on the LB corp is more risky than Reiff, Easton, Elflein, Berger and Remmers to me.  

I don't see QB as a need at all either.  We have two good backup QBs in Keenum and Heinicke.  Sam Bradford is a very good starter.  Yes he will be 30 next year, but he easily has 5-6 good years left.  Bradford will sign an extension with us to be our starter or possibly compete with Teddy Bridgewater in camp next year if Bridgewater can get healthy.  While technically this is Bridgewater's last year under contract with us he will actually very likely be under contract with us next year as well.  Bridgewater has about two weeks to miraculously be able to get off of the PUP list otherwise the last year of his contract with us will toll over to next year.  If something happens and we don't have either of them after this year than yes QB would be a top need, but at this point we are very likely to be bringing both of them into camp next year.

Again, you are making assumptions.  You can't just dismiss it as a need because you think they'll re-sign someone.  I'm looking at all possibilities here.  Like I said in my best case scenario, obviously you retain Bradford.  But it's a possibility he would leave and Bridgewater doesn't get healthy.  Keenum and Neinicke are terrible, and that's in pre-season games against scrubs.  Do you want to go back to the Ponder and TJack years?  That's what you'd be getting with those guys.  One last thing:  don't forget that Bradford has been injured a LOT in his career.  Could happen again.  He's injury prone.  I personally really liked what I saw out of him last year, so I have high hopes, but I'm just pointing out the possibilities you must consider.  

Riley Reiff is a slight upgrade from Matt Kalil at OT if only for the reason that he is usually the healthier player, but he is an uninspiring tackle who frequently gets beat.  The nice thing about Reiff is that while he is about an average starter at least he has the versatility and experience to be able to play both tackle spots.  Alex Boone is an overpaid and overrated starting OG who I don't think should be on the roster next year, at least not on his current contract or in a starting role.  He is an ok pass blocker, but is way too tall to get leverage and win battles in the run game.  Pat Elflein is on par with Taylor Decker as the best OL to play at The Ohio State since Urban Meyer took over as head coach leading the team to multiple national championships and paving the way for big time RBs like Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde.  He was a steal in the 3rd and will be a high level starting OL for the next 10 years.  Joe Berger is retiring after this year.  Mike Remmers is a very good run blocker, but gets beat around the edge way to frequently.  Some of his deficiencies were masked in the past by Cam Newton's scrambling ability.  There is no way that Remmers should be on the roster as a starting tackle next year.  He could be a decent backup RT for us or could maybe slide into the RG spot, but other than that he doesn't have a roster spot.  I really like Nick Easton and he performed admirably last week against the Seahawks, but personally I think his future would be a better fit on our roster as a Joe Berger replacement where he can be a high quality backup for all 3 interior OL spots and a solid spot starter similar to what Berger did before Brandon Fusco got hurt.  I think between Easton, Remmers, or one of the other young developmental guys on the roster we should be able to find one OG starter.  The only reason that Boone and Remmers are starters on this roster is because we were desperate and couldn't bring in any better options.  That leaves us with Reiff at LT/RT, Elflein at C, and Easton/Remmers at OG.  This would leave us with two huge holes at OG and OT.

I think that we need to take 1 OT and 1 OG in the first two rounds and this year is looking to be a pretty solid draft year for OL.

I agree the Vikes likely would have at least 1 if not 2 needs on the OL next year.  Reiff is a lot better than Kalil.  At least he was in college.  I didn't see him a lot with the Lions, but I read he felt out of place last year at RT.  I personally think he'd be an all-pro OG.  Something to think about there.  I would absolutely cut Boone and save 6+ million next year.  I wouldn't even hesitate.  Remmers is here through 2018 for sure.  2019 you could cut him and it would make sense though.  Reiff has a pretty nasty contract as far as cutting him goes, so he better be good.  It wouldn't make financial sense to cut him until 2021 unless he's terrible and even then 2020 is the earliest since even in 2019 your dead cap  would be over 1/2 of his cap hit.  

In the end, I'd love to see all of those backups and scrubs that you think are solid solutions to problems (such as the backup LBs and Ss) pan out and be the answer.  It's a stretch to think any of them would though, let alone all or most.  

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27 minutes ago, Magnus-Viktor said:

I don't think it's pessimistic at all.  I laid it out very clearly with no bias.  I didn't say that is what is going to happen, just what COULD happen.

Just about every example you were looking at things as a worst case scenario.  I mean what if Dalvin Cook breaks his neck and his career is over next year.  Then RB will be a high priority, but you can't plan for that stuff.  Our team has already taken steps to extend Barr next offseason and all signs point to him wanting to stay with the team.  Even when Barr was playing injured he was still an above average LB.  You can't plan for injuries to Barr, Bradford, or Bridgewater.  Those are just situations that you have to deal with as they come up, but you can't really plan your draft around that.  You can plan and get an idea of which players you are going to be able to retain.  If you have a problem with Barr's injuries you can work language regarding that into his contract extension or maybe offer him less guaranteed money.

My main point was that many of the OL veterans that we currently have on our roster are inadequate and need to be replaced making it a high priority.  You shouldn't draft replacements for players that were very recently highly drafted or have been steadily improving every year.  You don't just give up on developmental players that are showing promise.

OL will almost always be a higher priority than a 3rd LB because the OL plays almost twice as many snaps as the 3rd LB.  Unless Barr doesn't get an extension which is unlikely then LB won't be a high priority.  With the information we have been provided so far we have no reason to think that both QBs won't be on the roster next year making OL the higher priority.  We have multiple young and high potential DBs on the rost right now making CB and S lower priorities than OL.

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I definitely agree that OT is a priority need next year. MN needs to find a really good OT to push Remmers inside to OG.

The rest of the OL is probably fine. A mid round OG might be needed but we've got a few bodies in Boone, Remmers (moves inside), Easton, and Isidora.

Edited by vikingsrule

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With the initial projections of offensive line talent next year, and our current state of the O-line, you absolutely have to assume that the line will be our top priority. Reiff and Remmers are both upgrades from last year, but neither warrant a lock as being starting roles beyond this year. Reiff of course is the better out of the two, but he is still generally an average tackle. We should definitely be looking at tackle next year in the 1st round, regardless of if it is at LT or RT. Grabbing a guy at either spot would be an upgrade. The interior does look to be turning around to a point. Elflein shows what you want out of a solid long term center. Boone is so-so, and definitely could be gone next year, but Easton looks to have the chops to be decent, and Isidora already seems to be getting more looks which is promising. We seem to have some decent guys developing in the interior, so I would be willing to wager that we will be all right there next year.

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The defense is set, for a fair amount of years. The RB is set, The WRs are pretty much set, the TE is likely set, so it leaves OL and QB.

Only position at OL we're set at is C.

I support addressing LT or QB in the 2018 draft. I don't think either TB or SB are top 10 QBs, so if we performed below expectations, and we're middle pack, I still support moving up for a QB who has the tools we may want in a QBOTF. If you don't have a top 10 QB, your still looking for a QB.

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1 hour ago, CriminalMind said:

If you don't have a top 10 QB, your still looking for a QB.

That can't be the bar, otherwise, they'd likely be looking for a QB for the next 20 years.  Sometimes, an Andy Dalton or Joe Flacco is good enough.  What you generally need to look for is a reliably good QB, not necessarily a top 10 QB.  I believe either Bradford or Teddy have the potential to be a reliably good QB.  I personally would bet on Teddy over Sam, if healthy, but I'd be okay with either one.  I don't believe they necessarily have to continue to search for a top-10 QB.  They should continue to develop QBs, just in case, but they don't need to spend high picks on a QB, unless they decide to move on from both.

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