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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings second-round pick O’Neill ready for guard or tackle role

By Matthew Coller

One of the biggest questions for the Minnesota Vikings heading into the draft was whether they would land a tackle or guard and what that might mean for the future of current starting tackle Mike Remmers.

If second-round pick Brian O’Neill has to move from tackle to guard, that wouldn’t be anything new for him. The 6-foot-7 tackle changed from the Pitt Panthers’ No. 3 tight end going into the 2015 season to starting left tackle.

“Some teams talked to me about [a move to guard] and it’s something I’m definitely open to,” O’Neill said on a conference call with the Twin Cities media. “Playing football is playing football. Whatever a team is going to ask me to do, I’m going to do it.

The newest Viking talked about the biggest difference between tight end and tackle.

“At offensive tackle, if you don’t do your job the play is busted,” O’Neill said. “As a tight end you could run a route and not be open and they get the ball out somewhere else. The technical things that require you to do your job every play and do it well.”

Lead scout Jamaal Stephenson said that O’Neill only played tackle in college, but some analysts have hinted he could start at guard and develop into a starting tackle.

“O’Neill is a classic zone scheme blocker, but teams may take a look at him as a move guard with tackle potential rather than locking in with him as a blind-side tackle,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “O’Neill needs to get thicker and stronger or swing tackle could be his ceiling.

According to Pro Football Focus, O’Neill had the eighth best Pass Block Efficiency in the draft class, allowing just one sack, two QB hits and six hurries all season.

“I think I’m able to handle speed off the edge very well,” O’Neill said. “I think that’s something is one of my strong suits. Being able to protect the edge. Obviously with the new quarterback in town Kirk Cousins that’s a big deal. Protecting him is my most important job now and a job I take very seriously.”

O’Neill’s impressive athletic profile may fit well with the Vikings’ zone blocking scheme and use of screen passes with Dalvin Cook. But the Vikings do not have to lock him into a starting spot considering Rashod Hill performed well for stretches last season when Remmers was out or the team shifted Remmers to guard to replace Nick Easton.

“Whatever we need to do to win a Super Bowl is what I’m going to do because that’s the goal,” O’Neill said.

The post Vikings second-round pick O’Neill ready for guard or tackle role appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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