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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings surprised by second-round run on linemen

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings entered the NFL Draft in need of an offensive lineman. With a deep class – especially on the interior – the Vikings elected to wait until Day 2 to fill their open spot up front. But Friday’s festivities opened with a flurry of linemen being picked.

“Sitting there watching [offensive linemen] peel off at the top of the second round, they were flying off the board quicker than any time I can remember,” GM Rick Spielman said.

The second round started with the Cleveland Browns selecting Austin Corbett from Nevada and then UTEP’s rough-and-tumble guard Will Hernandez followed. Teams took linemen with the 37th, 39th and 50th picks, totaling five linemen in the second before the Vikings were on the clock. They selected Pitt tackle Brian O’Neill.

Spielman was asked if he considered using draft capital to move up.

“The one thing I didn’t want to do is I didn’t want to tap into any picks next year,” Spielman said. “The other thing, moving up there, you are talking about a fourth-rounder which we don’t have, at least we didn’t’ have at the time. You have to be careful on moving up to go get one of those guys but is it going to cost you more opportunities to pick up players? We feel all of those guys were all very good players, but I also felt there was an opportunity someone had to come down to us. We were very excited that Brian fell to us.”

Reviews on O’Neill are mixed. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projected the athletic tackle as a second or third-round pick, while CBS rated him as the 13th best tackle prospect in the draft.

“There was a big run, obviously, I’ve never seen that many offensive guards go this high in the draft,” lead scout Jamaal Stephenson said. “We just felt like with the value, he was up there on our board. We’re never going to just draft a guy because of need. Obviously, he’s a good player and we feel like he’s going to help.”

The positional value of guards appears to be on the rise based on some of the recent free agent price tags for guards like Justin Pugh and Andrew Norwell.

“I think it was one of the strongest classes this year at the center/guard area,” Spielman said. “As you sit there and look across the board, those guys were rated very highly on our board as well. If you got a need, you can’t have enough offensive lineman.”

The post Vikings surprised by second-round run on linemen appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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