When the Minnesota Vikings signed tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers last offseason, the hope was that they would put together a solid offensive line.
Through 10 games, the Vikings’ offensive line hasn’t just been solid, it’s been spectacular. Against a tremendous Los Angeles Rams defensive line, they allowed zero sacks on 38 Case Keenum drop backs in the Vikings’ 24-7 win at US Bank Stadium.
“Thank goodness it’s been the strength of our team this year,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I just like their toughness and their mentality and their grit and the way they go about their business. ”
Keenum has only been sacked one time for a 1-yard loss since Week 4 when he was taken down twice by the Detroit Lions. At the center of the offensive line’s excellence is Reiff, who has not given up a sack this season.
“We stick together,” Reiff said following the win. “I think we play hard. We have some stuff we have to get better at, clean up some stuff, but we go out there and stick together.”
The Vikings were shorthanded on Sunday, playing without Remmers for the second straight week. Backup tackle Rashod Hill again stepped into his shoes admirably.
“We all have expectations that we hold everyone accountable, go in there and do your job, win your one-on-one battle,” Hill said.
The Rams’ defense did pressure Keenum at times and registered five QB hits, but the Vikings’ quarterback was often able to escape, once rushing for 14 yards and another time finding Adam Thielen downfield after ducking a pass rusher.
“I think it’s something Case does really well,” Thielen said. “He’s able to scramble and give us time to get open. For us right now it’s just learning how he scrambles and just getting open.”
Los Angeles’s top sacker Aaron Donald had three of the hits and found himself in the backfield on a regular basis, but he was hit with a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty.
“Case does a good job of getting rid of the ball and he’s pretty squirmy,” Reiff said. “He got out of that one today and he’s playing pretty great.”
Last season, Sam Bradford was sacked 37 times despite offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur making adjustments in attempts to mitigate struggling offensive line’s impact.
What a difference a year makes.
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