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Report: Vikings Doing Homework on Cody Whitehair

The Dallas Cowboys selected Zack Martin with the 16th-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and many debated whether the Notre Dame tackle was worthy of a first round selection. Jerry Jones opted for the safe choice, passing on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for a chance to bolster what was then the NFL’s best offensive line.

“Is Martin as a guard worthy of a mid-first round pick? That’s debatable,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar. Other media members shared Farrar’s sentiment, and all were quickly proven wrong. Martin finished his rookie season as the NFL’s fourth-best run-blocking guard, per Pro Football Focus, and continued his elite play in 2015. The right guard position is a non-need for the Cowboys, and it will be for years to come because of Martin. This year’s draft class is a bit top-heavy with interior offensive line prospects, putting the Minnesota Vikings in a similar position as Dallas two years ago.

Widely considered the top guard in the class, Kansas State’s Cody Whitehair is drawing plenty of interest from NFL teams, one of those being the Vikings. According to reports from ESPN 1500’s Andrew Krammer, general manager Rick Spielman and staff are pouring their time into Whitehair:

A 50-game starter at Kansas State, Whitehair played nearly every position along the offensive line. He began at right tackle, moved to left guard and back to right tackle before finishing his senior season as the Wildcats’ left tackle. His success at all three positions has made Whitehair the top lineman in the class, and he’s projected as a first-round pick. While other, more flashy players may be available when the Vikings are on the clock at No 23, Whitehair is arguably the safest offensive line prospect since Martin in 2014.

Selecting Whitehair — if he’s available — would potentially bolster a position of need for Minnesota. The team wants to keep Phil Loadholt at right tackle in 2016, but questions surround guards Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris entering the offseason. Fusco struggled in the transition to left guard last season, finishing the year as PFF’s 44th-ranked guard. Harris, meanwhile, is a free agent and may demand a more expensive contract elsewhere.

A player like Whitehair has the ability to step in immediately start for the Vikings in 2016. He underwhelmed with his bench press (16 repetitions) at the Combine, and there are still concerns about his below-average arm length, but Whitehair is a technician who can easily translate his game to the NFL. Spielman would be more than happy adding the next Zack Martin to his offensive line, and it’s clear the front office is doing all the homework it can on the touted offensive lineman.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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    1. So…Teddy had a poor combine too……..but, still not sold. I’m liking Darron Lee, and Cory Coleman, This is getting tougher than I thought it was going to be this year.

        1. The combine is as useful as a sheet of used toilet paper. The only parts that should matter are positional drills, drug test, and interviews.

          I don’t care if he can do 3 reps of 225 or 500 reps, all that matters is can he block Ndonakong Suh for 4+ seconds every play.

          1. This applies to all positions too. If a RB can run a 3.8 second 40 but fumbles every time he’s touched hes worthless too.

  1. Originally I was sold on offense for first 2 or 3 rounds of the draft. Now, I am not so certain offense can’t wait until the 2nd round………….it is going to depend A LOT on the free agency, and A LOT on who may or may not fall in the first round of the draft.

    1. I’m feeling the same, Yankey had 22 reps. Not that whitehair isn’t a different guy. Results could be different.

  2. That few of reps with short arms is concerning. I also don’t like that he’s going to be 24 years old as a rookie and played out of a two point stance. He may not be as pro ready as some think. Testing poorly doesn’t mean he’s going to fail but its a red flag.

    1. Floyd’s not so good himself I can list plenty that are better him look his numbers we’re still waiting for him to breakout.

      1. I think Floyd is doing just fine. He’s a very solid player who continues to flash even greater potential when he’s healthy. Next to Linval he looks great – problem is when injuries happen he’s been asked to take up space more instead of disrupt the pocket.

        The issue I have with Whitehair is how you can have such a big ‘oops’ on a big stage? People said the same about Teddy, but arguably his issue was specifically related to gloves/no gloves. Everything else tested out as expected. Whitehair didn’t really look like he performed well at all in anything, and that’s not what would you expect given the accolades thrown at him.

  3. These combine numbers are simply another set of stats to help evaluate the players. If 2-4 seasons on the field don’t tell you what the player brings to the table, a couple bench presses aren’t gonna make a difference. However, in Whitehair’s case, it may cause him to drop right into slot 23.
    That said, bench press for O line is a fair indicator of a player’s ability to “lift” with your knees bent and push back a bull-rushing defensive tackle.

  4. Not sold this guy is a day one starter. Rick said it himself, two point stance takes awhile to convert. This kid MAY be a decent NFL guard someday, but I don’t think you know enough to assert he is day one starter. There are serious concerns you seem to be ignoring for some reason.

    I trust Spielman, but still really hoping we are all in on Osemele instead.