Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Starters (experience heading into the 2013 season)
LT: Matt Kalil (1)
LG: Charlie Johnson (7)
C: John Sullivan (5)
RG: Brandon Fusco (2)
RT: Phil Loadholt (4)
Joe Berger (7)
DeMarcus Love (1)
Jeff Baca (R)
Last year the Vikings' offensive line was dramatically improved with the addition of Matt Kalil, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Kalil took over at left tackle, pushing Charlie Johnson over to guard, a position he started all 16 games for the Colts in 2008.
In a battle for right guard, it was no contest last year. A sports hernia slowed down Geoff Schwartz, and Brandon Fusco took advantage of the situation and kept Schwartz on the bench.
At left tackle, the Vikings re-signed Phil Loadholt to a four-year, $25 million contract. Since being drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft, he has started every game but one.
This line was very successful run-blocking for Adrian Peterson who finished with 2,097 yards. They only gave up 32 sacks last season—an improvement over the 49 yielded in 2011.
Veteran Joe Berger returns as the only backup from last season. A versatile player, Berger can fill in anywhere along the line.
Gone is Schwartz who played one year with the Vikings, signing as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs. In his place will be sixth-round draft pick Jeff Baca from UCLA. At 6'3" and 302 pounds, Baca isn't as big as Schwartz (6'6", 331 lbs.), but there's time for him to add some bulk before the season.
DeMarcus Love, taken in the same round as Fusco in 2011, finally shakes the injury bug that has prevented him from making any contributions.