Riley Reiff is Succeeding in Gary Kubiak’s System
By John Tuvey - Nov 10, 2020
Perhaps overlooked as the NFL trade deadline expired with minimal fanfare or player movement was the fact that Riley Reiff remained a Viking. Among those most happy by Reiff staying put: Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins, because Reiff is doing things that are helping the Vikings salvage the season and — for better or worse— maybe even force their way into the playoff conversation.
Rudolph, Smith and Ham Paved the Way for Dalvin’s Big Day
By John Tuvey - Nov 4, 2020
It was a dream game for Mike Zimmer as the Vikings ran more than twice as much as they threw, and pounding the rock resulted in a win in Green Bay. Dalvin Cook gets plenty of the credit, and the offensive line produced their top PFF run-blocking grade of the season, but the success wouldn’t have been possible without blocking contributions from Irv Smith, Kyle Rudolph and C.J. Ham. Here’s a look at those unsung heroes from Minnesota’s Week 8 win at Lambeau.
Ezra Cleveland Held His Own in His Debut
By John Tuvey - Oct 28, 2020
With both Pat Elflein and Dru Samia out, the Vikings tossed second-round selection Ezra Cleveland into the right guard vacancy against Atlanta. Given the performance of his predecessors this season the bar was set pretty low, but while Cleveland’s performance was far from All Pro caliber he flashed enough ability to earn more looks — at guard and potentially tackle as well — as the Vikings use this lost season to figure out how to upgrade their offensive line.
Dru Samia is Not Alone in Holding Back Progress of Vikings’ Offensive Line
By John Tuvey - Oct 14, 2020
The inability to gain six inches of real estate, Dru Samia's ongoing struggles, a disconcerting case of handiness... it was all on display in the Vikings' most recent late-game collapse in Seattle. Let's reopen old wounds and revisit the Seahawks loss from an O-line perspective before looking ahead to see what challenges the similarly struggling Falcons might present.
The First Win Covered Their Blemishes, but the Vikings O-Line Still Needs to Improve
By John Tuvey - Oct 7, 2020
What we saw on Sunday was exactly what you should expect from the league’s top rushing team against the league’s worst run defense. And yet the Vikings still managed to produce their lowest-graded run-blocking effort of the season — offset by their highest-graded pass-blocking performance. At least Minnesota's first win covers some of the offensive line's blemishes; here's a rundown of the win in Houston and a look ahead to Sunday night in Seattle.
Cook and Jefferson Put Up Big Numbers Despite the O-Line’s Performance vs. Titans
By John Tuvey - Sep 30, 2020
Because we’re Minnesota sports fans, we can’t have nice things. Like, for example, a fully functional offensive line. Even as Dalvin Cook was running wild and Justin Jefferson was busting out the Vikings' O-Line was failing at the most inopportune moments. Faulty line play wasn't the only reason the Vikings fell to 0-3, but it certainly didn't help — especially on the team's final two drives, as the Vikings first squandered an opportunity to run out the clock to seal a win and then couldn't give Kirk Cousins time to move the offense into position for a game-winning field goal.
Where Have You Gone, Pat Elflein? Vikings Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You
By John Tuvey - Sep 23, 2020
For the second straight week the Vikings’ overall O-line play was in the C-/D+ range. With a typical Mike Zimmer defense that might be enough; with the defense's current level of play, it’s nowhere close. Here's a look at the positives — yes, there were some — and negatives of life without Pat Elflein along the Vikings' offensive line, with a glance ahead to what's in store next (spoiler: it rhymes with "Jadaveon Clowney").
Breakdowns From the Top Down Doom Vikings Offensive Line in Week 1
By John Tuvey - Sep 16, 2020
If you limited yourself to selected areas of the box score without knowing the final score, you might think the Vikings offensive line acquitted itself well in the season opener. But breakdowns from the top on down — questionable decisions by the coaches, lack of communication between the experienced starters, and little from the unit's only new member — ultimately added up to a disheartening Week 1 loss.
The Minnesota Vikings are Banking on Continuity and Experience to Improve the Offensive Line
By John Tuvey - Sep 8, 2020
In what was far from a normal preseason, only a select few have had a first-hand look at the offensive line Minnesota will trot out in Week 1. And with no preseason games, that group hasn’t faced anything but friendly fire. The Vikings opted for continuity and in-house solutions to address their O-line shortcomings; a matchup with a Packers defensive front that had its way with the purple last season will provide an early referendum as to how wise that decision was.
With Marcus Sherels Gone, Who Will the Minnesota Vikings Turn To as Their Punt Returner?
By John Tuvey - Jul 27, 2020
For the last decade the Vikings punt return game has been largely the domain of Marcus Sherels. Minnesota is turning the page this season, and while we won’t be treated to a full-on training camp battle one intriguing candidate stands out in the quest to light a spark in the Vikings’ return game.
What if Pat Elflein Turns it Around This Season?
By John Tuvey - Jul 17, 2020
The Vikings head into training camp with uncertainty at both guard positions… but should they? Incumbent left guard Pat Elflein is the popular scapegoat for Minnesota’s offensive line struggles, but with at most two preseason games his return to the starting lineup may be the team’s best option — and despite his struggles last season it might be a better option than you think.
How to Draft a Fantasy Running Back Who Won’t Conflict With Your Minnesota Vikings Fandom
By John Tuvey - Jul 14, 2020
Whether you prefer the run-heavy approach near and dear to Mike Zimmer’s heart or you fancy more of a pass-oriented attack, keeping your fantasy football teams free of Vikings-related conflict at running back requires a little bit of forethought—but the result can be a solid fantasy backfield devoid of players who divide your loyalties on purple Sundays.