Guard Josh Kline has one Super Bowl ring and hopes to add another with Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS — Josh Kline is not a flashy guy, so don’t expect to see him wearing his Super Bowl ring.
The Vikings guard won one with New England during the 2014 season, when he was a part-time starter. He started the AFC Championship Game against Indianapolis and was active for the Super Bowl XLIX win over Seattle, but didn’t play.
“It’s in a lockbox in Ohio,’’ Kline said of the ring being in his home state. “I haven’t seen it in years. It’s not something you carry around and wear. … Those rings are too gaudy. They’re massive, which isn’t a bad thing.”
Former University of Minnesota running back David Cobb was Kline’s teammate on the Tennessee Titans from spring drills in 2016 through the preseason. He laughed when asked if he ever saw Kline wear the ring.
“He doesn’t do that,” Cobb said. “He’s not the type of guy to brag about any of that stuff. He’s just a down-to-earth guy.’’
Nevertheless, Kline’s resume gets attention on the Vikings. The only other player on the roster to have been on the active roster for a champion is nose tackle Linval Joseph, who won Super Bowl XLVI with the 2011 New York Giants. Wide receiver Jordan Taylor was on the practice squad when Denver won Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
“It means a lot and that is where we are trying to get,” offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said of Kline’s ring. “He has one, so I am all ears when he’s talking.”
Expected to start at right guard, Kline was one of two key additions last spring as the Vikings worked to fix a shaky offensive line. The other was center Garrett Bradbury, expected to move into the starting lineup after being taken with the No. 18 pick in the draft.
Kline, 29, was waived last March by Tennessee with a year left on his contract. Ranked 50th among 77 NFL guards by Pro Football Focus last year, Kline said he’s not sure why the move was made; the Titans took a $3.5 million salary-cap hit before the Vikings signed him to a three-year, $15.5 million deal.
“That was their decision,” he said. “I thank (the Titans) for the opportunity. Now, I’m with a great organization and I’ve moved on, so it’s all good.”
After four full-squad workouts at training camp, reviews have been good. Head coach Mike Zimmer calls him “a battler,” and Stefanski agrees.
“That is a great term,” Stefanski said. “He has been on successful teams and I appreciate him out there. We have talked a lot over the course of having him in the building, and there are certain things he has seen over his time.”
Cobb wasn’t surprised to hear about what Kline brings to the Vikings.
“He’s smart,” Cobb said. “He knows what all five guys are supposed to be doing (on the offensive line), so I think that helps him out.”
Kline, who played with the Patriots from 2013-15 before spending three years with the Titans, also is durable. He has started 46 straight games, the longest current streak among NFL guards. There have been plenty of nagging injuries during that time, but he hasn’t missed a game since Tennessee played Sept. 18, 2016, at Detroit.
“I try to pride myself (on the streak),” Kline said. “Some of it is just dumb luck, and sometimes you get lucky because sometimes you get rolled up on (the ankle). … There’s always stuff going on, and you’ve just always got to constantly work on your body.”
Kline said last March he chose to sign with the Vikings because he liked the “family-first culture” on the team and the outdoors life in Minnesota. An avid hunter and fisherman, Kline found time during Memorial Day weekend to go to Lake Vermillion, where he caught a few northern pike.
On the field, Kline likes the talent the Vikings have. He sure wouldn’t mind adding an even bigger Super Bowl ring to his lockbox considering how the jewelry has looked in recent years.
“It’s an arms race,” Kline said. “Everybody’s trying to make it bigger and bigger. … (A ring is) cool to have and everything, but it’s more about winning as a team. That’s our goal and what we’re trying to do now, but we’ve just got to take it day by day.”