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The most pressing need for the Vikings this offseason is going to be their offensive line. Even if they end up taking Matt Kalil No. 3 overall in the draft, there are still at least two other liabilities to deal with.
While LG Steve Hutchinson has expressed his intentions to return for 2012 despite rumors of his retirement, the Vikings may want to replace him sooner rather than later. Along with the aging Hutch is the ever-revolving door at RG and the holding machine that is Phil Loadholt—and that's if they draft Kalil.
The offensive line is the most crucial group of players on that side of the ball—and for good reason. Not only do the offensive linemen create running lanes for the ball-carriers, they must be relied on to protect the QB long enough for the receivers to create space to make a catch. If the offensive line is bad, the offense as a whole will be bad.
Assuming the Vikings start rebuilding their offensive line this offseason, a guy like Carl Nicks may be high on the list—but trust me, just about every other team in the NFL would like to employ the services of the young All-Pro guard as well.
Though he isn't necessarily under the radar, Baltimore's Ben Grubbs might be a nice alternative to Nicks—and would actually make more sense for the Vikings.
Nicks may be an All Pro guard—that's all fine and good—but one observation I'd like to point out is that the New Orleans Saints aren't exactly what you'd call a "running team."
Grubbs, on the other hand, has spent the last few seasons creating running lanes for Ray Rice, one of the league's best up-and-coming RBs. If the Vikings were able to get Grubbs creating opportunities downfield for Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' ground game could return to its former, but not-so-distant glory.
Grubbs is no slouch against the pass either, he would make an excellent improvement over Anthony Herrera and he would also provide the durability to actually give the Vikings' line depth for a change—I know, it's weird, right?
If the Vikings add only one offensive lineman this offseason, Grubbs should be the one that gets the vote. He is versatile, but being that he is such a solid run-blocker, he would make an incredible addition to a struggling line.
Thanks for reading.
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