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Vikings: $52 Million Pro Bowl lineman floated as replacement for ‘Risky player’

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If the Minnesota Vikings can’t give the quarterback under center enough protection, all of their hard work in trying to find the franchise’s future quarterback may be in vain.

Luckily, Pro Football Focus ranked the Vikings’ pass-blocking performance from the previous season as the third-best. However, they allowed left guard Dalton Risner to linger in the draft lottery, and they may be looking to trade up from Blake Brandel, who is now starting in his place.

Matt Holder of Bleacher Report recommends the Vikings try out free agency Laken Tomlinson of the New York Jets.

“As of right now, Blake Brandel is the team’s starting left guard,” Holder wrote on April 7. With only five career starts under his belt, the 2020 sixth-round selection is a dangerous player to depend on to safeguard the franchise’s future. At this point in the game, Tomlinson—who has 138 career starts at left guard—is among Minnesota’s finest experienced choices.

Perhaps what sets Tomlinson apart the most is his availability.

Tomlinson, a 2015 first-round selection of the Detroit Lions, has never missed a game in his professional career. Since the 2017 season, when he missed that one game, he has been able to start every game.

Vikings Could Add Durable Veteran in Laken Tomlinson

Laken Tomlinson, Minnesota Vikings

Tomlinson played five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers following his time with the Lions. In 2019 he played for them in the Super Bowl, and in 2021 he was named to the Pro Bowl.

Tomlinson played for the Jets for the previous two seasons.

In order to avoid paying the salary cap by over $8 million, the Jets cut him from his three-year, $40 million contract. With career earnings of $52.7 million, he has a respectable income. Even at this late date, he may still command a sizable commitment to sign.

Another major factor in Risner’s protracted period of free agency is money. According to his March 12 post on X, he is looking for a “starting guard deal.”

PFF reports that in the last two seasons, Tomlinson had the lowest marks of his career.

That might make you stop and think.Similar to Risner, he performed better when blocking passes than when blocking runs. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined after just four snaps of play, the Jets’ offense as a whole was a complete disaster the previous year.

Naturally, Tomlinson would be facing either Vikings youngster Sam Darnold, veteran quarterbacks Nick Mullens or Jaren Hall, or both.


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