Brown A Priority

The Vikings continue to make progress in talks with offensive tackle Orlando Brown, according to coaches. Both head coach Mike Tice and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan sound excited to get it done.

The Vikings continue to wait on offensive lineman Orlando Brown, who was in town for a visit with the team earlier this month. Brown, who is 6-7, 350 pounds, suffered a serious injury to his right eye in 1999 when he was hit by a referee's penalty flag in the Cleveland Browns' final game of the season. He has not played since that time and in 2001 filed a $200 million suit against the NFL that has since been settled.

His health is not a major concern for the Vikings. Those who have put Brown through physicals have come away very impressed with his health.

"He's got a little light sensitivity, but he's fine," head coach Mike Tice said Wednesday about Brown's vision. "He was a one on the physical (meaning he looks very fresh). He looks awesome. He passed the eye test. He was great in the interview, great in workouts, great physical."

"He's a killer, man."

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said adding Brown would allow the Vikings to move Chris Liwienski to left guard, strengthening the line.

"If Orlando Brown signed here, automatically that would put Chris Liwienski inside because you are talking about a true right tackle (with Brown)," Linehan said. "Chris is a very good right tackle, but history has said that his best position potentially is at guard. So we would make an upgrade at two positions."

If Brown goes elsewhere, Linehan said it's a possibility the Vikings will like to add another lineman. But Tice indicated yesterday that the team is close to a deal with Brown.

"We're having great conversation with Orlando Brown," Tice said. "We'd really like to get that deal done."

"He is obviously a guy we have earmarked," Linehan said of Brown. "If that doesn't transpire then I think you move to the next guy, if there is one. If there is not an upgrade, if there is not a player better than Chris Liwienski at right tackle on the free agent market or in the draft — the draft is a little bit more of a stretch at this point — then you move elsewhere."

Linehan said the Vikings wouldn't limit themselves to just looking at tackles.

"I don't think in free agency you are looking for depth necessarily as you are looking to increase your talent pool," he said. "You are looking for guys that can make you better in the starting positions. If there isn't another right tackle that is better than Chris Liwienski maybe you go look for some guards that might be better.

"But the one thing I always want to make sure I point out is we feel very comfortable with how our offensive line played. We led the NFL in rushing last year and finished second in offense. A lot of that was in large part because of how our line played. It would have to be a definite upgrade for us to make any kind of move."


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