Vikings Visited with a Top Offensive Lineman

The Vikings' attempts to shore up their offensive line are becoming more prominent with each confirmed visit. This time, it's one of the top offensive linemen available in this weekend's draft.

First, noted the Vikings' many inquiries with Tennessee offensive lineman Arron Sears. Now Texas offensive lineman Justin Blalock has become another confirmed visit of the Vikings from two weeks ago.

Like Sears, Blalock is considered a late first-round value that might have a chance to slide into the second, although Blalock's value is believed to be slightly higher than Sears' stock. And both are versatile linemen who probably will be best suited at guard at the NFL level.

The 6-foot-3, 320-pounder might not be available to the Vikings with their No. 41 overall pick, but if he would end up with the Vikings, he'd likely be a serious contender to start at either right guard or right tackle, mostly likely at guard.

The Vikings currently have Artis Hicks as the starting right guard, with Anthony Herrera as the backup. Ryan Cook and Marcus Johnson, both recent second-round picks, are expected to battle for the right tackle position, with Cook the early favorite. Johnson also has potential at guard as well. describes Blalock's assets thusly: "Stout, wide-bodied blocker who dominates the opposition. Possesses big, powerful hands, turns defenders off the ball and opens holes for the running game. Quick off the snap, jolts defenders at the point and engulfs them altogether. Stays square, blocks with solid fundamentals and plays with a good degree of intelligence." called the finalist for the Lombardi Award (top lineman) and Outland Trophy (top interior lineman) "a model of durability, consistency and versatility" for, among other things, his 51 consecutive starts while a four-year starter at Texas.

On the negative side, says Blalock "lacks lateral blocking range" and is "marginally effective in motion."

Nonetheless, he was a unanimous first-team selection for All-America honors and is currently ranked as the 30th-best draft prospect overall and apparently a serious consideration for the Vikings if his stock has him slipping to No. 41.

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