The Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North title for the first time since 2009 this past season, but both head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman know there is plenty of work to do this offseason as they look to build their roster for 2016. The Vikings have made is clear that the offensive line is a priority, and the organization will look to bolster its pass protection in the 2016 NFL Draft.
One player to keep an eye on in the lead-up to the draft is Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair. Vikings' new offensive line coach Tony Sparano has already met with the offensive lineman twice at the Senior Bowl and again recently at the NFL combine, according to ESPN's Andrew Krammer. The Vikings are looking to make some major changes on their offensive line and are unlikely to bring back both offensive tackles Phil Loadholt and Matt Kalil next season.
While the Vikings may also look to acquire an offensive tackle in the draft, Whitehair is expected to be an offensive guard or center in the league and is considered arguably the safest offensive lineman prospect in the draft. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Whitehair has drawn comparisons to Dallas Cowboys' guard Zack Martin, which is a big statement, as the Cowboys' lineman has made the Pro Bowl in first two seasons in the league.
The Vikings had the NFL's leading rusher in 2015 with running back Adrian Peterson, but look for them to bolster their offensive line, as they struggled to provide quarterback Teddy Bridgewater any time in the pocket. It's unknown exactly where Whitehair will fall in the draft, as he has been projected anywhere the first round to the third. The Vikings will likely have Whitehair on their draft board come April, but his combine workout and interviews could determine what round Minnesota would be willing to take him in.