John Michael Schmitz Would Fix Vikings’ Offensive Line For Good

Photo: Scott Taetsch - Getty Images

John Michael Schmitz will play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Saturday, where the former Minnesota Gopher will have another opportunity to separate himself from the rest of the centers entering the 2023 NFL Draft.

He didn’t wait for the weekend to impress the pro scouts in attendance in Mobile, AL, though. JMS has been turning heads all week at practice and in 1v1 drills against some of the best draft-eligible defensive tackles in the draft.

John Michael Schmitz Turning Heads at Senior Bowl

John Michael Schmitz has showcased his stacked toolbox throughout the week. Above, you see him stand strong when facing bull rushers and pass off stunting defenders with ease. He also shined in the screen game, opened gaping holes for running backs and threw defensive linemen around like ragdolls.

Scouts and media members in attendance have been fawning over JMS for days. PFF’s Mike Renner called him the draft’s top center. “Not even close“, he claims. ESPN’s Jordan Reid tweeted that an argument can be made JMS has been the best player at the senior bowl, so far.

John Michael Schmitz would Fix Vikings O-Line Woes?

Minnesota Vikings center, Garrett Bradbury, will be a free agent this offseason, after having the best year of his career by far. If Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wants him back, it’ll require a hefty pay raise. Something the Vikings’ salary cap cannot afford.

You know what would be cheaper and, possibly, a better option? Drafting John Michael Schmitz. Because, if JMS is a plug-and-play starting center from week one, like many think he will be, then the offensive line problems plaguing this franchise for a decade would cease to exist.

With Christian Darrisaw at left tackle, Brian O’Neill at right tackle and John Michael Schmitz at center, the Vikings would have the majority of their offensive line set for the foreseeable future and they wouldn’t have to pay two of the three for another 2+ years.

Draft Projections

The Vikings will pick at #24 in this year’s draft (technically #23 because the Dolphins forfeight their pick), which is on the early side of John Michael Schmitz’ projections. If he goes in the first round, it’s most likely to be in the last 10 picks.

Experts think it’s more likely, for now, that he goes somewhere in the 2nd round. Here’s the problem. The Minnesota Vikings traded their 2nd round pick to the Detroit Lions midway through last season for TJ Hockenson.

That means, if they want the best center in this year’s draft, they’ll have to jump on him earlier than he’s expected to go OR Kwesi will have to work magic to fall down the board. Something he already showed a willingness to do in his first-ever draft last year.

Vikings have a lot of needs

Knowing how many positions they need to upgrade, falling back to gain an extra pick in the top two rounds wouldn’t be a bad idea. The Vikings are in desperate need of cornerbacks, linebackers, defensive linemen and wide receivers, too.

But fixing the o-line so Kirk Cousins can sit back and pick defenses apart will certainly be enticing for this front office come April.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan