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The fix-the-OL conversation for the Minnesota Vikings took a turn for the slimmer on Wednesday when guard Forrest Lamp signed with the Buffalo Bills.

Lamp was terrible in 2020, showcasing a 49.4 Pro Football Focus grade during the pandemic season. But that didn’t stop Vikings fans from thirsting for his services. Lamp was a 2nd-Round draft pick by the Los Angeles Chargers from Western Kentucky in 2017. He’s never produced at a high level in the NFL, yet Minnesotans seemed to believe that he could be fixed on a Mike Zimmer-led team.

Strange Days.

For now, the Vikings are left with this best-case-scenario for an offensive line:

(LT) Rashod Hill, (LG) Mason Cole, ( C ) Garrett Bradbury, (RG) Ezra Cleveland, (RT) Brian O’Neill.

You can stop groaning for a minute, though. The NFL draft takes place in three weeks, and the Vikings figure to plug some OL roster holes during that event. Too, the team might still sign a free-agent guard or two, although the list of competent offensive linemen is dwindling.

Here’s the best guards availble to the Vikings as of April 7th.

Trai Turner

Like Lamp, Turner was a member of the Los Angeles Chargers last year. He absolutely stunk. His PFF grade — 34.8 — is stuff of horrors. Yes, even worse than Dru Samia and Dakota Dozier.

Turner was actually the second-to-worst guard in all of the land per PFF during 2020.

But Vikings enthusiasts still want him. He was quite good from 2014 to 2019 with the team that drafted him, the Carolina Panthers — consistently tallying a PFF score in the 60s and 70s each season.

Most consider his rotten 2020 campaign an outlier. If the Vikings believe they can turn his career around, Turner should be available for cheap.

Lane Taylor

Sleeping with the enemy.

Taylor has played for the Green Bay Packers since 2013. Now, he’s a free agent — one that most teams are not flocking. The Oklahoma State alumnus has missed 91% of all football games in the last two season to injury.

His stock is low.

When Taylor is upright, he is quite decent. He registered a 66.0 PFF grade during his last healthy season of 2018. Additionally, Taylor is a better pass protector than run-defense merchant. And the Vikings don’t have too many pass-protection savants on the roster.

Taylor should be affordable, as well.

James Carpenter

A former 1st-Round talent from 2011, Carpenter is now a journeyman. The 32-year-old has played for the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons amid his career. He joined the league the same year Christian Ponder became a Vikings 13 spots down the draft ladder.

The 10-year man out of Alabama certainly isn’t a Pro Bowl attendee, but he is a better guard than Samia or Dozier. His PFF last season was 56.1. So, you know, meh.

Nick Easton

Easton is familiar. He was a Viking for two seasons — the final one took him to the NFC Championship in 2017. During that campaign, Easton was somewhat effective. He played 67% of all offensive snaps in 2017 while compiling a 57.5 PFF score.

Easton is another player in which his pass-blocking is more commendable than his run-bocking.

Rumors state that Easton “turned down” the Vikings for a free-agent deal, so this one might not be real at all. However, Easton is versed with the franchise.

General Manager Rick Spielman might sign one of these men, somebody entirely different, a couple of them — or none at all. The Vikings have 10 picks to use in the 2021 NFL Draft, the second-most leaguewide.

They will be forced to “hope and pray” on young prospects if Spielman makes no more OL moves.

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11 days ago

all these rumblings about the Vikings not addressing the OL situation shows how little faith Vikings fans seem to have in Spielman and the staff…to me it is indication they actually have a plan…my humble opinion is they may not make a move until the draft starts to play out & our guys in charge see what’s happening in front of their pick…if one of the young studs looks like he will be available then perhaps the Vikings make no move for a veteran guy but if they miss out on one of the guys they cover then I could seem them making a deal to get that veteran, perhaps it’s that beast in Baltimore we’ve been hearing rumors about…so c’mon everyone, ease up and believe!

Reply to  jarl
11 days ago

quick follow up…meant to write “covet” not “cover”

Robert Clark
Robert Clark
11 days ago

I think the Vikings should attempt to move up and get Sewell, if possible. If not, then target Slater or Darrisaw. Then they should try to get a day 2 or three back up at the position of OL, guard or tackle. It appears that Gladney is done for in the NFL, so that’s another problem that the Vikings have to address in the draft. It never fails. If it’s not one thing it’s two others. Just like when Brett Favre joined the Vikings, Sean Payton and the Saints had to cheat to get to the Superbowl. The Vikings are the most maligned team in professional football. Always getting cheated and slighted by all the other teams and coaches. We don’t get respect, we have to earn it. We have the least amount of fans in the entire league. Buffalo has more fans than the Vikings. I’m sick of playing second fiddle to panty waist pretty boys. We need to get er done!!!

10 days ago

This is a draft that is supposedly rich in tackles, and there are enough guards available to get a good one in the first few rounds. But the Vikings have to prioritize the position. If they can make 2 of their 3 picks offensive linemen, they could address the position for a few years. Or they could trade down in the first and pick up an extra early pick and only need to pick 2 of top 4 picks.