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Vikings’ options at left tackle continue to dwindle as Orlando Brown Jr. traded to K.C.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown (78) jogs on the field prior to an AFC Divisional Round game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One of the Vikings’ potential options at left tackle disappeared on Friday afternoon, as Orlando Brown Jr. was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Kansas City Chiefs, according to multiple reports. The Vikings were believed to have had interest in Brown.

It’s likely Minnesota dropped out of the bidding, considering the price Kansas City paid.

The Chiefs sent their first-round pick in Thursday’s draft, along with three other picks in the 2021 and 2022 draft, to the Ravens for Brown and one pick in the 2021 draft and another in the 2022 draft, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Chiefs now will have to negotiate a new contract with Brown, who is entering the last season of his deal and had wanted to be moved from right to left tackle. The Chiefs will do exactly that.

There are a few takeaways from a Vikings perspective:

    1. The Chiefs lost the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay in part because their offensive line was ravaged by injuries and quarterback Patrick Mahomes was under near constant pressure as a result. The Chiefs released their starting tackles from 2020 (Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, who was injured early in the season). Kansas City then signed veteran free agent left guard Joe Thuney (five years, $80 million) and got Kyle Long, who can play both guard or tackle, to end his one retirement. The Chiefs also expect to get back right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif,  a doctor who opted out of the 2020 season so he could help take care of patients during the pandemic in Canada. Austin Blythe, a free agent from the Rams, was signed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal in late March to take over at center. Kansas City has been to back-to-back Super Bowls and won the 2019 Lombardi Trophy. It wasn’t lost on the front office that addressing the offensive line — and helping Mahomes — was important. So why does that often seem lost on a Vikings team that has a far less mobile quarterback in Kirk Cousins?
    2. There is a chance the Vikings could address their need at left tackle with the 14th pick of the first round on Thursday, or by trading up if a run on the top tackles starts early. Oregon’s Penei Sewell is considered the top left tackle and likely will be gone early, but there are other attractive options. But what if the Vikings decide to trade back in the opening round, or go with another position, such as a pass-rushing defensive end? Then it’s likely that right tackle Brian O’Neill will be moved to left tackle and the Vikings will be searching for a right tackle. Internal options include backup tackles Rashod Hill or Oli Udoh. Schwartz, who had back surgery in February, also remains unsigned.
    3. One left tackle who remains as an option on the free agent market is Russell Okung, an 11-year veteran who spent last season with Carolina. The 32-year-old played in seven games in 2020 and was reportedly on Kansas City’s radar before it acquired Brown. Okung, however, has missed 19 games over the past two seasons because of injuries and health issues.