The Minnesota Vikings conducted most of their “top-30” visits earlier this month, but teams will often bring in players for these visits if they have any questions about the players that still need to be answered.
That does not ring more true than for Boise State offensive lineman Rees Odhiambo, whom the Vikings reportedly had in for a visit. He is one of the more talented offensive linemen in this year’s draft and has all the tools to be successful, but he has suffered injuries throughout his career, which leaves a lot of question marks surrounding him.
Teams are wary of drafting a player with injury problems because they do not want to be paying someone who isn’t going to be out on the field for the majority of their games. That’s likely a big reason why the Vikings had him in for a visit, just so they can try to figure out if these injuries were flukes or if they are likely going to be reoccurring problems.
Vikings’ needs: The Vikings did a lot of work in free agency this offseason to bolster up their offensive line, but a lot of their projected starters are either in the last couple seasons of their contract or nearing the end of their career. Adding a player like Odhiambo would give them depth and provide them with a solid option in a year or two when they are in need of new starters, especially since he could play both tackle or guard.
Measurables: Odhiambo measures in at 6-foot-4, 314 pounds with 33-inch arms and 10-inch hands. Even though he played tackle in college his height leads most experts to believe that he will transition to guard in the NFL. The only drill he participated in at the NFL Scouting Combine was the 225-pound bench press, which he did 23 times.
He participated in more workouts during his pro day, though, as he recorded a 27-inch vertical jump, 7-foot-9 broad jump, 4.64-second 20-yard short shuttle and an 8.02-second three-cone drill. He suffered a broken ankle during the season last year and that could be a reason he held off until his pro day to do a majority of his workouts.
Analysis: Odhiambo was a great tackle in college but will likely be asked to move to guard by whichever team drafts him. He is athletic, flexible and has quick feet, which should allow him to be a good pulling guard or work well in a zone blocking scheme.
He works with the proper technique along the line and has the ability to stay balanced, according to the draft analysts. It is important for linemen to keep their center of mass over their base because if they get caught leaning too far in any direction bad things can happen. Odhiambo has shown a good understanding of this and will constantly be moving his feet in order to maintain his balance.
Even though he plays with proper technique he will still let blocks get away from him on occasion when they appear to be sealed up. He will also need to learn to be quicker with his hands if he moves to guard. He has a good punch but needs to work with sticking to the defender more instead of just pushing him.
The biggest knock on Odhiambo, though, deals with his problems staying healthy. He never played a full season in college due to multiple injuries throughout his career and that could cause him to fall a ways in the draft.