[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacksrunning backsfullbacks, tight ends, and centers.  We’ll continue our way through all of the positions this week.]

With neither Charlie Johnson or Brandon Fusco leaving an overly great impression as starters last season, the Vikings would be foolish to not explore options that might exist to upgrade either the left or right side of the offensive line.

Or both.

In fact, after pouring through offensive free agent rankings that are unlikely to be real relevant to the Vikings, we have finally found a position that could be of interest.  The Vikings could obviously do better than what they have and this group of free agents has some really solid options to consider.

Johnson and Fusco are still under contract next season, and the Vikings gave Troy Kropog a raise to keep him on their roster and will be a restricted free agent, but none of these guys are above being unseated.

Top Tier

1.  Andy Levitre, BUF

Poor Bills.  They just never seem to get any better, and this year they stand to lose some serious young talent to free agency.  With only one franchise tag at their disposal, it seems highly unlikely that both Levitre and safety Jairus Byrd stay put.  If Levitre hits the market he will command some big money, but that shouldn’t deter the Vikings from giving his agent a call to set up a visit.

2.  Louis Vasquez, SD

Unlike Levitre, I don’t really see Vasquez making it to the free agent market.  The Chargers are still wincing as a result of letting Vincent Jackson get away, and they can’t afford any more downgrades on offense.  At only 26 years old, the Chargers need to be willing to pay the man, because plenty others won’t hesitate.

3.  Brandon Moore, NYJ

At age 33, it would be surprise to see the Vikings chase a guy like Moore, but there is no denying he has been playing at a very high level in New York.  Adding a run blocking machine like Moore to the lineup, however, would make Adrian Peterson that much more dangerous in 2013.

4.  Donald Thomas, NE

There are a few players that could become free agents this year that interest me because they appear to be really talented, but are stuck behind expensive veterans that they couldn’t quite dethrone.  Thomas is one of those players.  Behind Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly, Thomas hasn’t been given much playing time, but I see him moving on to another team and placing himself into Pro Bowl consideration.

Second Tier

5.  Kevin Boothe, NYG

6.  Ryan Lilja, KC

7.  Geoff Schwartz, MIN

8.  Chad Rinehart, BUF

9.  Matt Slauson, NYJ

10.  Ramon Foster, PIT

11.  Stephen Peterman, DET

Third Tier

12.  Garrett Reynolds, ATL

13.  Cooper Carlisle, OAK

14.  Tyronne Green, SD

15.  Robert Turner, STL

16.  Deuce Lutui, TEN

17.  Chris Spencer, CHI

18.  Kory Litchensteiger, WAS

The Rest

19.  Mike Pollak, CAR

20.  Pat McQuistan, ARI

21.  Russ Hochstein, KC

22.  Tony Hills, IND

23.  Lance Louis, CHI

24.  Reggie Wells, PHI

25.  Chris Williams, STL

26.  Jake Scott, PHI

27.  Leonard Davis, SF

28.  Leroy Harris, TEN

29.  Derrick Dockery, DAL

30.  Antoine Caldwell, HOU

31.  Eben Britton, JAC

32.  Chilo Rachal, CHI

33.  Rex Hadnot, SD


  1. Adam, weren’t there games towards the end of the season where Johnson and Fusco, or maybe just one of them, were grading out as best guard or guard in the NFL. I remember reading somewhere about them grading out well, like the last 4 or 5 games of the season.

    • Maybe, but I doubt it. It’d be a tough sell, in my mind, to say either of them are anywhere near the league’s best. Johnson will never get there, and Fusco is running out of time.

  2. Good summary, Adam. No question this position needs upgrade. If this Buffalo guy is the real deal, .I hope we pursue him. Should also draft a couple.

  3. I really would like vikings to go after a top tier gaurd in FA, we have some gap room at the moment at this would be a wise place to spend it. Just look at last time we threw our money after a gaurd how that worked out for us.

  4. A quality free agent guard that we could plug and play at a high level would be appealing. Berger is a free agent so Fusco could move to the back up center spot if we signed a guard. However, wth that said, I don’t think guard is our weakest link.

    Before we start throwing money at a guard… I would like some resolution/clearity on the Percy Harvin contract situation first. WR is #1 on my list.

  5. I highly doubt you will see them go after Levitre. If they could get Thomas for around what they are paying Charlie Johnson I could see them swapping out one for the other, but I don’t think offensive guard is real high on Spielman’s bang-for-your-buck system. They are going to give Loadholt a big new deal, and I’m guessing most of us will say they paid too much when we see the numbers on that contract. There probably won’t be much left to make a big-time splash after taking care of internal guys, and even though we could use an upgrade, I don’t think Spielman will value that position. There are a couple good looking maulers in the draft that might slip into the third round though, so they could upgrade going that route.

  6. Levitre would be a nice pickup, But i don’t see them put that much money toward that position.
    Its early yet, See how it plays out till the draft.
    Dan has a point on getting one that slips possibly during the draft.
    With Carl as far as getting Percy situation done and a WR to get the job done as far as stretching the field and making it hard on Defenses…

  7. we do need OG improvement, but it’s not our first priority, or second…

    ponder’s pass protection should be a focus this year and i’d love a new guard or two, but there aren’t a lot of sacks generated from the interior d-line. also, we just had our RB miss the all-time season record by only nine yds., so maybe we’ll see improvement from what we’ve got, draft and develop a guy, or buy a new journeyman guard

    • Cal, with better guards, AD would have gotten at least 10 more yards, Ponder would not have gotten injured in game 16… I could go on and on. We probably would have been undefeated with better guards.

      • well, then, by all means, load up. undefeated means championship

        your boy ryan dungey is in town tonight, coach, races just starting, and i’m watching him live on tv

  8. Adam – Are you listing offensive free agents first? I can’t wait to see if you think Loadholt is a Top Tier Free Agent Tackle.

    • well he sure is very capable of being a good RT in this league.. The question remains if he will continue to work hard after a contract. He is outstanding in run blocking and decent in pass protection.. Might need him to be a little lighter and move easier on his feet. But I sure think he is a top 3 FA OT.. especially RT

  9. Adam,
    Do you think theres a chance that they would look into Donald Thomas?
    I guess it depends on who they are looking at after the combine…


Leave a Reply