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Minnesota Vikings Free Agency: Ideal Veteran Offensive Line Additions

Rob SirplessContributor IMay 19, 2011

Minnesota Vikings Free Agency: Ideal Veteran Offensive Line Additions

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    Matt Light, Free AgentKent Nishimura/Getty Images

    Head Coach Leslie Frazier has often remarked that the offensive line is not an area of concern. But myself, along with numerous Vikings fans would beg to differ.

    There is not a whole lot of confidence in Bryant McKinnie these days, for that matter Steve Hutchinson is starting to raise some doubts.

    From center all the way to right tackle is a mess.

    So what will the Vikings do once free agency opens and offensive linemen can be signed? One thing Frazier did say was that right guard, currently filled by Anthony Herrea, is a position he could see improvement being a good thing.

    Does that simply mean he is going to have an open competition between Herrea and promising prospect Chris Degeare? Perhaps his new draft pick DeMarcus Love is the one he wants to see step in and take the starting job.

    Either way one thing should be as obvious to the Vikings brass as it is to their fans. Some adjustments need to take place if Christian Ponder and the skill players are going to make anything happen.

    Rookies and undersized linemen won't get that job done, not right away at least.

    This years free agent market does offer some talent. So let's take a look at possible vets who could come in and hold down the fort.  

Matt Light Offensive Tackle

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    Matt Light, OTJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Matt Light remains one of the best linemen to play in the last ten years. It should be counted as joy that he is going to be available.

    The issue that was going on in New England had to do with Light and the money he was going to demand. The Patriots don't like to pay older players and so they drafted his replacement in Nate Solder.

    So Light will most likely hit the market and it would be thrilling if he landed here in Minnesota.

    It would probably mean the end of McKinnie's career as a left tackle, and Loadhalt would move inside. It's the most logical move in my humble opinion.

    Light is getting older so this would more of a stop gap move.

Robert Gallery Offensive Guard

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    Robert Gallery, Free AgentSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The former second overall pick lost his job at tackle but has since developed into a fine offensive guard.

    Gallery should be retained by the Raiders if they are smart. But he may test the market, and if he does the Vikings could pounce on him.

    This is the end of his rookie contract so he is young and ready to start for a lot of years. Right guard is the position Frazier feels needs help. Gallery can do that. He would also be a nice man in the wings for when Hutchinson moves on.

    The Vikings need to make running easier for Adrian Peterson. Gallery is stout in that department. He is very fast for a guard.

Damien Woody Offensive Tackle

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    Damien Woody, Free AgentAl Bello/Getty Images

    Woody was released by the Jets after the season ended. He was often injured and therefore not reliable. When he is healthy he is one of the best right tackles in the NFL.

    If the Vikings pursue and obtain Woody they will simply be replacing Loadhalt, but as any Vikings fan knows, that is a good idea.

    The only drawback in this plan is his injuries. Woody struggles to stay healthy and it was a problem in New York. But if he could put together a full season in purple Ponder and Peterson would benefit mightily.

Logan Mankins Offensive Guard

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    Logan Mankins, Tagged by New EnglandNick Laham/Getty Images

    Mankins is perhaps the biggest offensive free agent in this years class. He was tagged by New England and could be forced to return there if the old CBA is reinstated. If a new agreement is reached however it is likely that he will bolt from New England where he has felt misused.

    Mankins would signal the second coming of Hutchinson. He is the premier guard and still on the young side of his prime.

    He will demand a very large contract but that won't scare Zygi Wilf who just wants to win.

    Mankins would be the biggest deal since the Jared Allen trade and signing. If the Vikings can land him it might move Hutchinson to right guard and create an amazingly strong interior to protect rookie QB Ponder and open freeways for Peterson.

    Once again he is not exactly a free agent at this time.

Unsettled...

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    Tyson Clabo, Free AgentAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    There are many more offensive linemen who are free agents out there. But it is my understanding that they would not be available if it was not for the lockout. In fact rumors have it that many of them have deals ready once the market opens.

    Thus it is probably of no use to write about them and get hopes up. Players such as Tyson Clabo, Doug Free and Ryan Kalil will more than likely receive big contracts from their current teams.

    But the guys mentioned just now are either very available or have a high chance of at least seeing how interested other clubs are in them.

    But which ones are the Vikings interested in?

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