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Tetris - Finding the right fits on the O-line

A discussion of the movement of Minnesota Vikings offensive linemen along the line to build added depth and versatility

Minnesota Vikings trying O-linemen in different spots to build versatility
Minnesota Vikings focus on the right fits on the offensive line
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

"Tetris," the game where you have to manipulate falling blocks to create lines.

Vikings trying players in different positions on the O-line
Tetris - Fitting blocks into a line, in this case the Vikings offensive line

Throughout OTAs so far, and continuing through mandatory minicamp, the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff continues to play a game of Tetris with the offensive line.

Our good friend Chris Thomason over at the Pioneer Press captured a quote from Rick Spielman describing what Tony Sparano, Pat Shurmur, and Mike Zimmer are trying to accomplish.

“We’re sliding some guys at center to guard, some guards to tackle, some tackles to guard because of what happened last year,’’ Spielman told participants last week following a Vikings charity golf outing. “If we do get in the situation we were in last year, hopefully we have guys who can go out and function at different positions.’’

The team is taking all the likely some starters and mostly backups and putting them in different positions to get experience, but also to see if they’re good fits. We’ve watched as last season tackle T.J. Clemmings has slid to right guard, Jeremiah Sirles, who we thought might compete at right guard looks to be backing up Alex Boone, and Willie Beavers has played some time at tackle early this year. The more positions these young men can master, the more valuable they will be in case of a repeat of the 2016 injury bug strikes the line again.

Vikings offensive linemen presently on their 90 man roster
Minnesota Vikings offensive line roster
Graphics by Luft Krigare

Mike Wobschall was even asked about it, and focused on durability as being a key issue that the Vikings hope for when they signed Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, along with the versatility of players that can play multiple positions.

“Riley Reiff has missed only three games over the past four seasons and Mike Remmers didn’t miss a game as a starter for Carolina the past two seasons. If those trends continue, that alone will be a major upgrade compared to what this team went through last season. I also like the versatility of this group. Both Reiff and Remmers have played both left and right tackle, Joe Berger can play all three interior spots, Jeremiah Sirles can play three spots and third-round pick Pat Elflein played both guard and center at Ohio State. Finally, I like this group’s athleticism and ability to put blocks on defenders at the second level and in space.”

We will not find out who gets to sit and start in what is, the Minnesota Vikings game of musical chairs on the O-line until the pads come on, and these big men can start beating up on other big men to win that right. In the meantime, the team will continue to play their version of Tetris to find out who can fit where, and what combinations, to complete the line.

Who do you think makes it when the music stops and the blocks are in place?