You're going to be hearing it all season long. The Vikings failed to replace Loadholt, causing consternation for every mishap and every misdeed that will befall the 2015 Vikings. Maybe it's just not apparent to all involved but starting NFL right tackles are not available at your local grocery store (with one notable exception by the name of Kurt Warner). Sure there are right tackles on the street but they are there for a reason.
The Buc's also lost their right tackle in that same preseason game and their approach was to react by signing Cherilous. To be successful in this league, you don't react, which might explain why the Buc's had the 2015 #1 draft pick this year. You have a plan, and you stick to that plan.
Doesn't anyone remember that Loadholt was once a rookie himself. At the time, he was a project with slow feet. Sure he was big but his future with the team was anything but certain. Now the Vikings have future question marks at both tackle positions, as Matt Kalil's future is as much at issue as it now stands with Loadholt. In other words, missing 5 games last year, combined with missing the entire 2015 season means that the Vikings must address the offensive line, meaningfully in the draft, in 2016.
As it stands, the Vikings have options ... risky options, however risk could also result in a very favorable outcome. The most notable shortcoming is that #68 T.J. Clemmings doesn't have the notable playing time in his arsenal, which could be a very favorable thing. Lineman tend to be like stones where over time "The Grind" can turn them into rusting hulks. Knees, ankles and shoulders take their toll. The one specific notable negative to relying on Clemmings is that with his limited playing time ... can he endure the upcoming 16 game schedule and then continue on in the playoffs. If his motto becomes ... "Live for another day ... rather to risk injury" ... he might have a great shot at nailing down the starting role for years to come.
What the Vikings now lack is depth. Although the option of Berger at right guard with Mike Harris shifting out to right tackle is there for the taking, that should not be their #1 option, as Berger represents real depth in a moment of crisis. The Clemmings option needs to be this teams number one option and it needs to be milked until things settle into place. Growing pains will be apparent but our coaching staff must be willing to endure Clemmings growth.
The Vikings now have an incredible opportunity in that there is now a roster spot open to replace Loadholt for 2015. In other words, their future actions require incredible patients. Last year, Charles Johnson became a starter, from Cleveland's practice squad. In short order, teams will have to select their 53 man rosters where some team is going to have too much depth in regard to offensive lineman. If we are patient, one of these lineman will find themselves unprotected, hoping to end up on some teams practice squad. It is then that the Vikings need to strike by adding both depth and potential to this offensive line group. Everyone knows that the waiver wire is key as this Viking squad is about to lose some very talented players of their own. The Vikings do not stand alone in this regard. You've had to trust Norv Turner implicitly a great deal up to this point ... you're going to need to continue on this quest.
Stay the course. Do not react as it is always better to act. Don't react by listening to the hype. Sometimes it's ok to respond to the hype by saying, "Where good!"
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: August 18, 2015