The Minnesota Vikings have not been particularly shy about the scheme they plan to run in 2019.
The addition of Gary Kubiak to the coaching staff made it clear they will be using zone running and all the play-action passes that come off it. In general, running an outside zone scheme requires athletic offensive linemen who have the quickness to reach the second level in a hurry. With the loss of Nick Easton in free agency, the Vikings will need a replacement with above average quickness. That replacement could be Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom.
A standout at the Senior Bowl, Lindstrom followed up his performance with an outstanding NFL Combine. He scored in the 97th percentile of offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, 75th in the 3-cone, 83rd in the 20-yard shuttle and still managed an above average 25 bench press reps (per Mockdraftable).
According to the website Relative Athletic Scores, which uses a formula to grade the most important Combine results on a 1-10 scale, graded Lindstrom as one of its best athletes ever at the guard position. His 9.83 score compared closely to Brandon Scherff and Kyle Long and not far behind former Viking Steve Hutchinson.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote that Lindstrom can be a good fit for the zone scheme.
Lindstrom is one of the most athletic interior lineman in the 2019 draft with a rare ability to match movement quickness with anyone across from him. His quickness can place him in position to make blocks on both the first and second levels and he has an impressive ability to cover lateral space and protect his gaps as a pass blocker. Lindstrom is scrappy at the point of attack but lacks the length, mass and strength some teams will want. His final destination could be as a guard/center in a zone scheme where he can become a long-time starter.
According to Pro Football Focus’s draft guide, Lindstrom had the second best pass blocking efficiency among guards in the draft class, giving up just four QB hurries, zero QB hits and zero sacks last year. He is also one of the most experienced players in the draft. Over four years, he played 3,369 total snaps.
Where Lindstrom will be drafted appears to be a great debate within the draft reporting/analyzing community. Zierlein lists Lindstrom as the third best guard in the class (but that’s including Alabama’s Jonah Williams as a guard), Chad Reuter of NFL.com mocked him to the Vikings while Daniel Jeremiah mocked him 27th and Charles Davis did not include Lindstrom as a first-round pick.
Last year we saw seven interior offensive linemen taken before the 40th overall pick. This year the draft appears to be more heavy with tackle prospects, which could put someone like Lindstrom in high demand in the early second round for teams looking for an interior lineman.
You might put Lindstrom in the category of a “safe pick,” but also a player who would fill an immediate need and be a building block for the offensive line going forward.