Zane Beadles, who most recently played left guard, was released by the San Francisco 49ers yesterday. Now, if you’ve spent any time listening to the purpleJOURNAL Podcast, in the newly launched purplePTSD.com/VikingsTerritory.com Message Board, or inside of my head, you’ll know that my cautious optimism for the 2018/19 season has turned to sudden, sheer and perpetual panic. The main reason for that, basically, is that I was a huge proponent that the Vikings sign Kirk Cousins while also being under the assumption that the Vikings would either be able to draft Ohio State center/guard Billy Price at the end of last month, or failing that, would at least draft someone (or a group of someones) to shore up the offensive line that really has been responsible more than any other position group for the way the last couple seasons have ended for this Vikings team. While I’m about 5,000 words into an article laying that out, I couldn’t let the opportunity to at least partially quell that angry panic go by without writing about it (and I did want to shout out one of the new members of the purplePTSD/VikingsTerritory message board (we’ll have to come up with a better name at some point) in PurpleWrath for pointing this out to me this morning), as well. That solution, or at least partial solution, is obviously that the Vikings should sign Beadles (or as my autocorrect knows him, Lane Beatles, which sounds like his “hip” alter-ego who really, really loves the White Album), let me explain why.
Currently the Vikings have players with names like Cornelius Edison, Chris Gonzalez, Cedrick Lang and/or Storm Norton picking up the slack behind starters Nick Easton, Lane Beatles, Tom Compton and/or Mike Remmers (who might move from tackle to guard) and that’s something that should terrify every Vikings fan to their core. Beyond that, Nick Easton and Pat Elflein both had ankle surgeries during the (off)season, and while they’re expected to be back by the time the season starts that’s something that should also keep us up at night. While you’d think that would’ve meant that the Vikings would’ve done everything in their might to shore up the one position (group) that had a definite need in the draft (while you could argue that the corner and defensive line needed depth, that’s basically what they needed, depth, where as the Vikings offensive line needs a starter at right guard and depth basically everywhere else), they apparently decided that Mike Hughes was good enough that it was worth the risk of not picking up a guard in the second round by picking him and then waiting another 31 picks to pick again. Beyond that, the offensive lines’ Mr. Fix it in Joe Berger retired this off-season and because he was able to fill in at multiple positions (and immediately become the best player on the line at that position), losing him hurts at both center and guard. That’s where Beadles comes in as he’s another Berger-esque player in that he’s able to play… Basically everywhere. As an article on ESPN.com states:
“In his two seasons with the team, Beadles was asked to do just about everything an offensive lineman can do. He played tackle, center and guard during the 2016 season and then filled in at right tackle for four games late in the 2017 season after losing out to Tomlinson for a starting guard job.”
While he lost his starting gig last season, Beadles was good enough to warrant a three-year contract for nearly $10 million back in 2016, and while he’s on the wrong side of 30 he could immediately step in and provide much-needed depth for the Vikings at nearly every spot on the line. This is a godsend, especially at this point of the off-season and if you’ve listened to our podcast or checked out my rantings on the forum you’ll know that my solution, really, was to wait for training camp cuts to find a veteran guy who can basically do what Beadles can/could do. The Vikings are a destination team when it comes to free agency as players typically like playing for teams that are a “them” away from contending for a Super Bowl and while I’m not saying that adding Beadles would make the Vikings a contender, I can say that the difference between having him and not having him is significant enough that the team should pull out all the stops to bring him to Minnesota (or I guess Eagan, where lights go out at 8:30!).
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this really would go a long way to alleviate my panic and it wasn’t something that I expected this soon in the off-season. However, after the ‘9ers added Weston Richburg and Jonathan Cooper in free agency and more importantly Mike McGlinchey in last month’s draft it became clear that Beadles was no longer part of the plan in San Fran(cisco). So, let’s hope that the Vikes understand that the draft didn’t end up going the way they’d hoped, that they’ll be on the phone to Beadles’ agent (or at this point, have already been on the phone to his agent). Otherwise they may find that the season will end up being a Long and Winding Road, which’ll be hard to Get Back, especially when they have to contend with teams in the NFC like the Los Angeles/(Paul McCartney’s) Ram(s) all the way Across the Universe While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Otherwise, I Imagine that Happiness will become a Warm Gun but that’s just A Day in the Life of a Vikings fan.