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Pro Football Focus expects big improvement for Vikings’ offensive line

Minnesota Vikings center Joe Berger (61) sets to snap the ball against the St. Louis Rams during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won in overtime, 21-18. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

The offseason is the best time to rank stuff. On Tuesday, the analytics/analysis website Pro Football Focus published its rankings of all 32 teams’ offensive lines – and Vikings fans will be quite pleased by the jump in ranking from the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017.

At the end of last season, PFF scored the Vikings as the 29th rated offensive line in the NFL. In their newest rankings, Minnesota sits in the top half of the league at 14th.

PFF’s Mike Renner wrote:

The Vikings invested heavily up front by signing tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, then drafting center Pat Elflein. If Elflein wins the starting center job, that would mean that only Alex Boone and Joe Berger would remain from last year’s O-line and Boone would be the only one playing the same position.

Heading into the offseason, the Vikings’ aim was to raise its line quality from worst-of-the-worst to mid-pack and it appears they have achieved that goal. The biggest improvement is likely to come in the running game, where the Vikings’ blocking up front severely hindered Jerick McKinnon’s big-play ability last season.

Here are the PFF O-line rankings of Vikings opponents:

New Orleans Saints – 16th

Pittsburgh Steelers – 3rd

Tampa Bay Bucs – 30th

Detroit Lions – 24th

Chicago Bears – 5th

Green Bay Packers – 8th

Baltimore Ravens – 23rd

Cleveland Browns – 2nd

Washington – 11th

Los Angeles Rams – 18th

Atlanta Falcons – 6th

Carolina Panthers – 12th

Cincinnati Bengals – 31st

  • Matt

    I feel like this is déjà vu. Didn’t PFF rank the Vikings like 16th or 15th going into last year too? We’ll see how it goes. Depth is still a major issue at that position.

    • Jeeves

      Why don’t you have a profile?

      • Matt

        Post as a guest. Don’t work for the site.

        • Jeeves

          I didn’t realize that was an option. Thanks for the reply.

    • brian199511

      Injuries were the main cause of problems last year and if they stay healthy, especially Reiff and Remmers, they should be league average. With a good running game the passing will open up as well.

      • James Ekholm

        Injuries for SURE over limited skill set! Can’t be any worse and a much better outlook than 2016 with the Peterson issues and shaky receiver corps. We weren’t overly concerned about the O-line until the injuries started. Teddy was the shocker but we may have given Bradford the break he needed to start using his Heisman trophy skills. This coukd be tge year. Fan since August 1961 in Sioux Falls. I will miss Patterson though . . .

      • Matt

        That’s my point. 1-2 injuries and we are right back in the position we were last year. Depth is still not very good unless Clemmons, Sirles, and Easton improve a lot.

        • Super K

          Depends on if injuries are at tackle or interior – we can survive guard or center – harder to survive if tackles go down

          • cka2nd

            Honestly, the only position I’m really worried about an injury is left tackle. I think Sirles is a more than adequate replacement at RG or RT, we’ve got four legit centers on the roster at the moment (Berger, Easton, Elflein and Kerin), and Berger could swing over to LG in an emergency. LT2 Rashod Hill may well be the most important benchwarmer on the entire team.

    • purpleiq

      I hear you, but I do feel better with Rieff at LT. Berger will be fine playing anywhere. As for Remmers? I don’t know much about his body of work to have an opinion. I’ve always thought Easton got good push in run blocking. They are at least getting younger as a group (Berger aside). I do think this is a “show me” year for Tony Sparano though. So far, Andre Patterson, he aint.

  • Odin1984

    That’s the biggest questions mark for the vikes
    They have to be effective in the trenches to establish the running game and stop the run better on the other side
    Reiff and Remmers are better options at tackle spot , the very good veteran Berger Will outplayed the production of fusco from last year , Boone was above average last year but now he ‘s in his second season with vikes so we can expect improvement
    The center position is the only spot open but I hope that Elflein will win the competition because he’s a better run blocker with toughness (especially in the short yardage situations , he can move people better than Easton last year in those situations ) and when the contacts in camp and preseason games will be allowed , I expect that he’ll won the job

  • JonasGrumby

    Sure as hell couldn’t be any worse!

    • MarkWattsMN

      Taking TJ Clemmings out of the lineup instantly improves the team.

      If they replaced him with Teddy in a wheelchair last season it would have been an improvement, at least the defender would have to take a second to get around him.

  • Andre Esters

    Man… is it Week 1 kickoff yet?! Seems like the critics love and hate the Vikings every other week…

  • Foreman 44

    The new RB group Run, Catch & Block versatility will be a big help to Offense & O Line also. 1) AD=Run from I 2) Asiata=Low run into Guard A Gap. 3) McKinnon=Wildcat or play with motion across. Like every good poker player – Every defense Vikings played knew the play from the Vikings RB tells. This Year Cook, Murray & Jet with 10 Lbs can all do 3 phases of offense. Defense will have to play honest. That matters.

    • Only thing you forgot was “AD=Run from I, jump-cut to the right, try and run around the end.”

    • purpleiq

      Yep, 3rd and two with Murray or Cook in the backfield looks a lot different than 3rd and two with AD. I loved the guy, but just saying.

  • RobSkolVikes

    As usual looks good on paper. With all my heart, I hope the O-line looks great on the field too. Love the Pat Elflein addition particularly. I had such high hopes last season, and like so many times before, I was crushed. I hope Teddy can return and take his job back by mid season as well, but thats a pipe dream as of now. Team did well this offseason, but we will have to wait and see.

    • cka2nd

      I wouldn’t bother hoping that the O-line looks great on the field if I were you, since none of the veterans can be considered blue-chippers, and only Berger and Boone have ever approached that level. As Coller noted, the goal was to go from bad to good, and they seem to have met that goal, especially if Reiff can stay healthy. 14th best is about right for now, and the absolute ceiling this year is probably ninth or tenth best.

    • JB Whalen

      I really don’t see why folks are so high on Teddy and so ‘meh’ on Bradford…Teddy holds the ball too long, is a poor decision-maker, and stalls the offense with lack of daring and bold moves. Hell, he’s only thrown like 3 frickin TDs his whole career! (exaggerating) Sam is a seasoned and sure veteran with a confidence and instinct possessed only by the elite. He holds the record for highest completion percentage EVER! As in – No quarterback has EVER been more accurate. And don’t come off with that dink n dunk crap, either! Go watch a Bradford 2016 Highlights film; look up his stats for throws over 10, 20, and 30 yards…pretty sick. His completion percentage was top in the league over 20 yds, as well. Teddy is too fragile and his mechanics are wrought with issues. He’s not that good. Not crappy, but he’s no comparison to Bradford.

      • Jason Bump

        All this is true. But going back to teddy in college he always is spectacular in the 4th quarter and win games

  • IrreverentOne

    I am going to wait and see.


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