With plenty of starting-quality option in free agency and several blue-chippers in the draft, the law of supply and demand may be working against offensive tackles.
Despite desirable names like Branden Albert and Eugene Monroe scheduled to be free agents, not one of the offensive tackles in free agency was given the franchise or transition tag and only one, Khalif Barnes of the Oakland Raiders, has been re-signed in advance of the start of free agency.
In short, the Vikings have no need to go scouring the top 20 on the free agent lists for an offensive tackle. Their starters are set for years to come with Matt Kalil at left tackle and Phil Loadholt at right tackle. At best, they could use some depth, but that might come in the middle or late rounds of the draft, where value and upside are catch phrases that could entice the Vikings at a position where they have no need to dish out veteran salaries any more than they are for Loadholt, on his second contract, or Kalil, on a healthy contract of a first-round draft pick.
The Vikings could be losing J'Marcus Webb, a massive tackle like Loadholt, in free agency. But with Webb not establishing himself as a starter anymore, like he did with Chicago in his first three seasons, he could come back to the Vikings on the relative cheap. Unless he is looking to find a team where he would at least have the chance to compete for a starting job, it makes some sense for both sides to strike a deal.
TOP OUTSIDE OPTIONS
Ryan Harris: He has six years of experience in the league, staring 39 of 78 games with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, but in the last two years with the Texans he has started only five games. Adding to his intrigue for the Vikings is that he played at Notre Dame, which is establishing itself as a feeder program for the Vikings, and is a local product of Cretin-Derham Hall High School.
Jason Fox: He made only three starts for the Detroit Lions, but the Vikings aren't necessarily looking for a starter. If they do decide to look for backup tackles in free agency, Fox is young enough – he will be only 26 during the 2014 season – and would also take away from a divisional opponent. That never hurts.
THE FREE AGENTS
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings free-agent focus: Offensive tackles
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