In 2016, the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line was nothing short of a disaster from start to finish. The team made some moves this offseason to try to correct that, signing offensive tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency and drafting center Pat Elflein and guard Danny Isidora. But, is that going to be enough?
Well, the folks from Pro Football Focus seem to think so.
PFF just did their rankings of the offensive line units across the National Football League, and the Vikings ranked surprisingly high, considering where they were last season. PFF has the Vikings’ o-line rated 14th out of 32 offensive lines in the NFL.
Truthfully, I’m surprised myself at the Vikings’ ranking here. Realistically, they shored their line up enough to where there aren’t any glaring weaknesses, but at the same time there’s little in the way of high level play either. They finished 29th in our end-of-year 2016 rankings so this would be quite the bump up.
We’ve said this on numerous occasions before, but the Vikings’ offensive line wasn’t going to become the Dallas Cowboys’ o-line overnight, and frankly they don’t need to. We know the rebuild is going to take a while, and this offensive line doesn’t necessarily have to be an elite unit.
They just have to not be a complete dumpster fire like last year’s unit was. Honestly, I think the group they have now is capable of that.
We know that Reiff and Remmers aren’t spectacular or anything, but they’re both steady performers at the tackle positions, and that’s a whole lot more than what we saw out of the tackle spots last season. I would think that left guard Alex Boone, who might be the only player from last year’s offensive line to start in the same position in 2017, would benefit from having someone like Reiff next to him as well, rather than lining up next to T.J. Clemmings.
As far as the depth is concerned, the Vikings should have quality backups at the offensive line positions, too. If Elflein doesn’t grab a starting spot (with Joe Berger seemingly being slotted at right guard and Nick Easton battling with Elflein at center), he could provide depth at a couple of spots on the inside. Someone like Jeremiah Sirles, who got a lot of starts in 2016, could also go back to being a depth player, and Isidora could figure greatly into the team’s future on the offensive line as well.
We thought that the 2016 Vikings were going to have a lot of depth on the offensive line, but that dissipated quickly thanks to players like Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan not making it all the way back and injuries at numerous positions early on in the regular season. This season, we might get that depth and some of those training camp battles that we were anticipating last season, and that should only serve to strengthen a Vikings’ offensive like that was woefully weak in 2016.
If this offensive line can go from the disaster they were last year to being league average, this offense is suddenly going to be very good, and that means that the Vikings as a team are going to be very good as well.