With the 2013 NFL Draft fast approaching, teams are beginning to narrow their focus to prospects they are most interested in. Having a prospect in for a visit is typically an indicator of great interest in that player, since by this point there is little teams don’t know about players they have wanted to dig deeper on.
Among the players who will reportedly be visiting the Minnesota Vikings is Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker. The Vikings don’t have an obvious need at either tackle spot with Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt in place as the starters, but the guard position is one where an upgrade could be sought on either side of center John Sulllivan. Fluker played right tackle for the Crimson Tide, but it is thought he could make the transition to guard.
Let’s take a closer look at Fluker, and see if he is a fit for the Vikings.
Weight: 334 lbs. (Alabama’s Pro Day)
– Has impressive size and length
– Is a physical, mauling run blocker
– Has powerful hands; is able to latch onto and steer pass rushers
– Is a passionate player and has an excellent temperament
– Has untapped upside
– Lacks balance and agility to be consistently effective against speed rushers
– Loses leverage at times; needs to maintain a good pad level more consistently
– Occasionally shows poor technique and lacks finishing effort in run blocking, allowing defenders to disengage
– Does not have great initial quickness
– Shows only average instincts
Fluker lost around 10 pounds between the BCS National Title game and Alabama’s Pro Day, so if he is able to maintain that and it translates into better agility he may be able to stay at tackle at the next level. He is widely projected as a first-round pick, but the Vikings are surely not looking to use one of their picks in that round (23rd and 25th overall) on an offensive tackle. But if Fluker is willing to move to guard, which his visit may shed light on, he could be targeted by the Vikings and eventually come in and push Brandon Fusco for the starting job at right guard.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.