Andre Smith Signing Gives Minnesota Vikings Terrific Offensive Line Depth

By Jacob Camenker

The Minnesota Vikings continued to add to their offensive line in free agency on Thursday as the team reportedly agreed to terms with offensive tackle Andre Smith. Smith, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, agreed on a one-year pact that will likely make him the starting right tackle for the Vikings in 2016. The signing was a great, low-risk move by the Vikings that will give them one of the deepest offensive lines in the NFL.

Smith has played his entire seven-year career thus far with the Bengals, and he has been a very strong starter for the team. Playing the right tackle position, Smith slowly developed into one of the better players at his position in the league, and he was one of the major reasons why the Bengals have had such great pass protection over the past few seasons. The only reason he left the team was because the Bengals simply did not need him, especially after drafting two offensive tackles in the first two rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft.

As a result of this, Smith needed to find a new team and Minnesota was probably the most logical fit. Smith is reuniting with former defensive coordinator and current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer who will know exactly how to use Smith to ensure that he is effective. And getting Smith on a one-year deal is a bargain for the franchise, considering that he is such a good all-around tackle.

Also, the Vikings had a need at the tackle position, as left tackle Matt Kalil has struggled for the last couple of seasons while right tackle Phil Loadholt has been frequently injured in that same time frame. The Vikings may even decide to part ways with one of those players in the wake of signing Smith, and it seems like Loadholt could end up being the odd man out.

Still, as of now the Vikings are two deep at almost every position on the offensive line. They have four tackles with starting experience, they retained Michael Harris and signed Alex Boone in free agency to give them one of the league’s best guard duos, and they have a couple of players who are capable of starting at center. These players will ensure that Teddy Bridgewater will have superb protection and they could end up helping the Vikings win a playoff game this season.

Signing Smith is going to have a huge impact on the Vikings’ offense. Smith will give the team a great run blocking tackle and excellent depth that will help them develop into one of the better young squads in the NFC.

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