The O-Line Was Abysmal from Start to Finish Against Chicago
By John Tuvey - Dec 22, 2020
The Vikings’ offensive line was abysmal from the first snap to the last against Chicago, leaving Minnesota on the outside looking in at the NFL’s expanded playoff picture. It’s not necessarily time to bail on the 2020 season, but playing out the string should provide an opportunity for examining guard options that don’t share a name with a neighboring state or two.
Stunts and Twists Doom Vikings O-Line in Tampa
By John Tuvey - Dec 15, 2020
Many, many things went wrong for the Vikings in Tampa on Sunday, and while it’s easy—and incredibly GIF-friendly on social media—to direct the bulk of the blame towards the kicking game or the officiating, the offensive line should earn at least as much if not more of the fans’ collective ire.
Ben Bartch Could Have Solved the Vikings Guard Issues
By John Tuvey - Dec 9, 2020
The potential solution to Minnesota’s long-time guard issues was on the field Sunday. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, he was wearing a Jaguars uniform. Seeing Ben Bartch ply his trade on the same field where Dakota Dozier’s struggles continued brough up not only a series case of what might have been, it also demonstrates that the Vikings needn’t settle for a placeholder at guard.
Brett Jones is Providing Short-Term Salvation at Right Guard
By John Tuvey - Dec 1, 2020
Brett Jones is the Vikings’ fourth attempt at filling their troublesome right guard spot, and according to both PFF’s numbers and the eye test he’s succeeding. Jones’ ability to anchor and understanding of double-teams for the time being outweighs his struggles at the second level, and while he may not be the long-term answer at the position he’s played well enough to ensure he won’t be heading back to the practice squad.
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.