Clemmings inserted as starting right guard

The Vikings immediately put rookie T.J. Clemmings in a starting spot at right guard. It’s still early, but the Vikings are testing him to get a gauge if this will be the long-term plan on the line.

There have been a lot of questions as to how the Vikings are going to address the left guard position in 2015. From what has been seen the first couple of days of OTAs, it would appear the Vikings have a Plan A in place.

Speculation was rampant that the Vikings would either grab a free-agent guard to replace Charlie Johnson at left guard or draft a left guard in the early rounds of the draft.

They did neither.

The first plan was unveiled at OTA practices, where right guard Brandon Fusco moved to the left side and fourth-round rookie T.J. Clemmings has moved into the right guard slot.

Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Clemmings was a natural fit at right guard because he played right tackle in college and, despite a limited view of him at the OTA practices, he looks comfortable in the position.

“We felt like with T.J. Clemmings, it would be a little easier for him to stay on the same (right) side,” Zimmer said after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s (only) two days – yesterday was a monsoon and today, I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. I honestly didn’t see him very much.”

There obviously has been nothing etched in stone as far as how the offensive line will shake out over the next three months leading up to the 2015 regular season, but the first move of sliding Fusco to the left side has been the initial incarnation of the offensive line.

Zimmer admitted that the offensive coaches want to see how Fusco and left tackle Matt Kalil could jell together, but it was more about the bigger picture of seeing how Fusco could adapt to the left side and, more importantly, if Clemmings can handle duties on the right side at a new position to him.

“(Moving Fusco) was part of it, but it wasn’t the main reason,” Zimmer said. “It was really about putting him over there, putting Clemmings at the right side and making it easier for him, as opposed to moving (Clemmings) to the other side. We know that Fusco can always move back if we plug somebody else in the left guard.”

Zimmer wouldn’t commit that the repositioning of Fusco and inserting Clemmings on the right guard spot would be permanent. But, for the time being, the coaching staff wants to get a longer look to see what Clemmings can bring to the table on the right side.

There will be plenty of time to make changes if things don’t work out, but Zimmer said that for now his policy and that of offensive coordinator Norv Turner will be placing players at spots and keeping them there until they see proof that something isn’t working. But, as things currently stand, they’re going to keep Clemmings and other players they have targeted for potential spots in those spots to get a more accurate assessment of whether their current opinions will continue to hold water moving forward.

“Right now, at this particular time, we want to leave guys alone,” Zimmer said. “We don’t want to move them all around all over the place, so we’re going to leave him right there for right now then evaluate and then maybe make some changes after a while. At this particular point in time, we’re going to leave it alone.”

Translation: If Clemmings can hold up his end of the bargain at right guard, we may already know the answer to the lingering guard question heading into the 2015 season.

  • Does the NFL think the Vikings and Adrian Peterson are going to be at an impasse this season? If you follow the NFL Network’s annual countdown of the projected top 100 players for the coming season, the mother ship has some issues with A.P. Last year, Peterson was ranked as the No. 4 player overall in the countdown and the highest running back. This year, he checks in at No. 62 – just three spots ahead of Baltimore’s Justin Forsett.

  • Should the ranking be motivation for Peterson? It’s hard to say given that the only running backs currently on the list are Darren Sproles, Arian Foster, Forsett and Peterson. Given that LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Jeremy Hill haven’t had their names announced yet, Peterson may be getting a little more salty than he is after clocking in at No. 62. That anger could be good news for the Vikings.

  • The Met Council moved closer to funding a $6 million pedestrian bridge at the light rail station near the new Vikings stadium Wednesday. The council approved staff to continue negotiating with the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to see if either will be willing to help fund the project, which, at the current time, doesn’t appear likely. A final vote will come later this summer and, whether the Vikings or the MSFA chip in for the bridge, it sounds like it will happen either way.

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