3 Draft Guards Who Can Help Improve the Vikings’ OL

Vikings Offensive Line and the Big 'Maybe'
Kirk Cousins and Vikings OL

So far, most of the Vikings iOL speculation has centered around Tyler Linderbaum, the undersized, athletic center from Iowa. Minnesota fans, reasonably enough, have some concern about sinking another first-round selection into a center. Garrett Bradbury was supposed to be the anchor along the interior for years; after three years, it’s clear he ought to be a backup.

Missing on Bradbury means the Vikings still have a fair bit of work to do along the iOL. Ezra Cleveland will likely be the team’s LG in 2022, and the hope is that he can maintain that role for years to come. After him, there isn’t too much to be excited about (though veteran Jake Reed may end up helping). Thankfully, the draft has some players who Minnesota may be interested in drafting.

PFF – God bless them – provides most of the information for this piece.

Dylan Parham, RG, Memphis

Parham, at least on paper, looks like a great fit.

Over the past three seasons, Parham has logged significant snaps at LG, RT, and RG. Most recently, he was a RG, and the projections suggest that’s where he’ll play in the NFL. His PFF grade took a step back in 2021, but it’s encouraging to see that his zone blocking score is a robust 81.8.

His combine numbers put him in elite territory for athleticism. Most notable, perhaps, is his 4.93 forty. He’d instantly join the crowded competition to play alongside Brian O’Neill in 2022.

Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

Drafting Green will likely require the 46th pick, or perhaps more. Some view him as a first-round talent, so getting him in the mid-second would be great value. A trade up may need to occur.

In college, Green literally played every OL position (he had a snap at center). The most recent snap numbers suggest he’s a left guard, but he has also had significant experience at RG. His 93.2 zone blocking score is elite, making him a true challenger for starting duties in his rookie season.

He only allowed 1 sack and 2 QB hits in 2021.

Cole Strange, LG, Chattanooga

To my mind, the Vikings would be wise to target RG. Nevertheless, the iOL talent isn’t so robust that the Vikings can be overly choosy.

PFF suggests that Strange has “elite explosiveness for an interior lineman.” He did well in zone blocks, and he only allowed a single sack and hit in 2021. It’s also notable that he had a very impressive combine: “Regardless, Strange shined at the Combine, ranking in the 90th percentile in the 40-yard dash (5.03), bench press (31 reps), broad jump (10″), three-cone (7.44), and 20-yard shuttle (4.5).”

At this point, Strange looks like a strong option in the third round.

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on Purple PTSD.