Thus far in 2015, the Minnesota Vikings have had their share of issues along the offensive line. However, it hasn't been a complete disaster so far, as a couple of players have distinguished themselves in the eyes of scouts thus far.
Going into the season, the biggest question that many had about the Vikings' offensive line was "Can Matt Kalil bounce back?" After five weeks of the 2015 season, Kalil has been significantly better than he was in 2014, and has been relatively successful at keeping opposing defenders off of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
In fact, the folks from Pro Football Focus inform us that only four left tackles in the National Football League have a longer streak of not allowing a sack than Kalil does. It has been 313 snaps since Kalil last allowed a defender to register a sack. Considering that last Kalil allowed more sacks than any other left tackle in the league last season, to see him go this long without allowing one is a welcome change. He might not be all the way back to his 2012 form, but everything we've seen so far in 2015 shows that he's trending in the right direction, at the very least.
Another bright spot along the offensive front has been the play of center Joe Berger. Over behind the great E$PN Insider paywall, Berger has been named to their All-Underrated team for the interior offensive line.
Minnesota's offensive line has been devastated by injuries, losing starters at right tackle and center (both Pro Bowlers) and already having a makeshift solution at right guard. Although the results of the replacements have been mixed, Berger, a longtime backup center, has graded well, and is currently the fourth-best graded at the position.
Berger has surrendered just three hurries all season and has yet to allow Bridgewater to hit the ground, much less be sacked, by his man. Add in some positive run blocking and only one penalty to his name and you have a very successful stint replacing John Sullivan.
That raises an interesting question. With Berger playing at the level he's been playing, what do the Vikings do when Sullivan returns (as he's currently scheduled to do prior to the game against the St. Louis Rams in Week 9)? Both of Minnesota's guards, Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris, have had their struggles this season. Would the Vikings consider keeping Berger as a starter over either of them, perhaps even shifting Fusco back to right guard? Fusco has had his struggles at left guard this season, and Berger would be more than capable of stepping in at that spot.
I don't think they'd send Fusco to the bench (if for no other reason than he got a pretty big contract extension in 2014, showing that the team believes in him), so that would send Harris to the bench. With the experience he's gained at guard this season, that would give him the versatility to back up pretty much any position on the offensive line.
When John Sullivan returns, the Vikings are going to have a bit of a dilemma on their hands. However, thanks to the play of Berger, it's not necessarily a bad thing.