The Minnesota Vikings are "making a strong push" for Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Clint Boling, according to Chris Tomasson with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Boling is "said to be strongly considering them." Per the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Zimmer is now the Vikings coach. Ryan Goldin, Boling’s trainer in suburban Atlanta, said Monday that’s a key reason why Boling is considering the Vikings.
"He has a lot of interest in the Vikings,’’ Goldin said. "I know he likes the Vikings organization. It’s going to be an interesting 24 hours."
Despite the differences from offense to defense, Boling still played for three seasons when Mike Zimmer, currently the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings, was the team's defensive coordinator -- so there is familiarity involved here.
Boling's name has been relatively unheard during the legal tampering period, (now being dubbed free agency lite) with the belief that teams were waiting to see what happens with free agent guard Mike Iupati -- at the very least, to set the market. The NY Jets, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills are publicly interested in Iupati. Minnesota has also reached out to Iupati's representatives.
According to Tomasson, the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets are "very interested" in Boling.
Pro Football Focus ranks Boling as the third-best free agent guard headed into free agency this year.
A key cog in the Bengals’ offensive line since his sophomore season in 2012, Boling turned in his best season as a run blocker this season though his pass protection failed to match his first two seasons as a starter. From their impressive Week 11 victory in New Orleans, Boling earned a run block grade of +1.5 or higher in five out of six games. Prior to that he had only earned a single game run block grade that high twice in his career.
If Boling can pair that run blocking form with his pass protection from 2012 and 2013 then Boling will be a guard on the rise over his next contract. However, if he moves away from Cincinnati and the Bengals quick release offense then his pass protection will come under greater scrutiny.
Boling joined the Bengals as a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, which also included starting wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton.
If the Bengals lose Boling, it'll be interesting to see how they react, especially after releasing backup guard Mike Pollak.