Few positions for the 2006 Vikings saw the instability that right tackle had, and their interest in talking with guards and tackles at last month's Senior Bowl indicates they are looking for a remedy on the right side of the offensive line.
At tackle, 2005 second-round pick Marcus Johnson started the season and, like his rookie year, struggled to hold down a starting job. In 2005, he lost the starting right guard position. In 2006, he eventually lost the starting right tackle spot.
Veteran Mike Rosenthal replaced Johnson after 10 games, but Rosenthal was then replaced with rookie Ryan Cook, who was originally drafted as a center, for the final three games. Now, Rosenthal has been mentioned as a possible cap casualty by ESPN and Cook, while showing some promise, might still be too green at tackle to be entrusted with the starting role.
The Vikings will at least have to find some insurance at the position, if not a proven starter, and there are numerous options expected to hit the free-agent market.
Leonard Davis, Arizona Cardinals – The six-year starter is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, and the franchise tag would be a tough one for the Cardinals to swallow at $9.56 million, meaning he could hit the open market if a long-term deal isn't worked out before March 2.
Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers (restricted) – Starks became a full-time starter in his second season and held down the role last year as well. He'd be a nice addition to any team, but given that he's restricted, he could be tough to pull away from the Steelers.
Sean Locklear, Seattle Seahawks (restricted) – Like Starks, Locklear is restricted and became a starter in his second season with the Seahawks. He isn't quite as heavy as Starks, but he would receive interest from other teams if the Seahawks don't tender him enough.
Tony Pashos, Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens would love to re-sign Pashos, but he could receive a lucrative offer too heavy for the cap-strapped Ravens to afford. Pashos is entering his first year as an unrestricted free agent, but he only became a full-time starter in 2006.
Mark Colombo, Dallas Cowboys – The 6-8, 320-pound Colombo has been in the league five years, the first three with the Bears, and, like Pashos, didn't become a starter until last season.
OTHER FREE-AGENT TACKLES
Stacy Andrews, Cincinnati Bengals (restricted)
Brad Bedell, Houston Texans
Jacob Bell, Tennessee Titans (restricted)
Jordan Black, Kansas City Chiefs
Jeremy Bridges, Carolina Panthers
Kelly Butler, Cleveland Browns (restricted)
Anthony Clement, New York Jets
Nat Dorsey, Cleveland Browns (restricted)
Todd Fordham, Carolina Panthers
Mike Gandy, Buffalo Bills
Adam Goldberg, St. Louis Rams (restricted)
Cornell Green, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Leander Jordan, San Diego Chargers
Damion McIntosh, Miami Dolphins
Jim Molinaro, Washington Redskins (restricted)
Blaine Saipaia, Detroit Lions (restricted)
Ephraim Salaam, Houston Texans
Kevin Sampson, Kansas City Chiefs (restricted)
Chad Slaughter, Oakland Raiders
Todd Steussie, St. Louis Rams
Jon Stinchcomb, New Orleans Saints
Todd Wade, Washington Redskins
Langston Walker, Oakland Raiders
Tyson Walter, Washington Redskins
Future Free Agents: Offensive Tackles
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