For the most of the recent past, the weak link for the Minnesota Vikings has been on the offensive line. The team has used several high picks on offensive linemen over the past few years and has spent money in free agency to try to correct the problem, but it really hasn’t done much good.
Until this season.
According to the folks from Pro Football Focus, the Vikings’ offensive line is just outside of their Top 10, checking in at #11 in their midseason rankings.
A couple of the names that were highlighted by PFF were the tackles, Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill.
Both of the Vikings’ offensive tackles, Brian O’Neill and Riley Reiff, have earned top-35 overall grades in Weeks 1-8. With 72.0-plus run-blocking and pass-blocking grades, O’Neill ranks tied for 23rd among all qualifying offensive linemen in overall grade (72.6). Coming off a standout performance against the Washington Redskins in Week 8, Reiff has earned a 77.0 pass-blocking grade and the 33rd-ranked overall grade (71.5) among the same group of qualifiers.
The Vikings have had a couple of rough games up front, particularly the Week 4 loss against Chicago. The difference this season, however, has been that those games have been the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, the Vikings have been very solid up front, as the numbers that Dalvin Cook has put up this season show.
I’m not enough of an offensive line guru to know how much of the improvement along the offensive line is the guys that are out there, how much is on offensive line coach Rick Dennison, and how much is from the “Denver Mafia” offensive scheme that the Vikings have shifted to this year. I’m sure that there are some folks out there that can break it down more thoroughly than I can.
All I know is that they’re performing better than we’ve seen a Vikings’ offensive line perform in quite a while. Frankly, that’s good enough for me.