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Rashod Hill’s strong performance vs. Washington highlights Vikings’ O-line depth

A backup tackle versus Ryan Kerrigan wouldn’t normally be a recipe for offensive success.

Kerrigan ranks fifth, right behind Everson Griffen, among pass rushers with the most sacks in the NFL over the past four seasons. Prior to the Vikings’ matchup with Washington, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was effusive in his praise for Kerrigan, lauding his work ethic, saying, “he never takes a play off.”

On Sunday, Kerrigan was a ghost against backup tackle Rashod Hill.  According to Pro Football Focus tracking stats, Hill allowed zero quarterback pressures.

“He’s quick off the ball,” Hill said of Kerrigan. “He’s a smart guy. You gotta be ready to get your hands on him because he’s not only quick but powerful too. There was one play he came in with a long-arm bull[rush] and I really felt it.”

The Vikings signed Hill last season off Jacksonville’s practice squad. He played in one game – Week 17 against the Bears – and performed well enough to convince the team he was deserving of the No. 3 tackle spot. In training camp, he got valuable work as the starting left tackle in practice and preseason while Riley Reiff was out.

His strong play in pass protection is becoming a trend. Against the Cleveland Browns, starter Mike Remmers went down with a concussion early in the game. Hill came in and allowed just one pressure, per PFF stats.

”My comfort level was good having a week to prepare,” Hill said. “In Cleveland I didn’t know I’d be playing right [tackle], but unfortunately I happened to be playing right. Having a week to prepare for [Washington], it was a good week, we did our job.”

Following the win over Cleveland, Zimmer noted some issues with Hill’s run blocking, but said this week they had focused on it during practice.

At least on one key play, Hill’s run blocking was strong. Following a Kirk Cousins interception, Latavius Murray picked up 13 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown pass by Case Keenum.

“Zim and Tony [Sparano] told me to work on my run blocking, so that’s what I’m going to do every day,” Hill said. “That’s what he really emphasized. Technique, technique, technique technique. That’s all Zim was telling me every day. That’s what I’ve been trying to focus on with run blocking, bringing my hips and trying to finish guys.”

Below you can see the hole created on the right side.

It’s hard not to compare this season to the Vikings’ 2016 issues with depth. If Hill has to play for a long period of time as Mike Remmers recovers from a concussion, it appears the Vikings won’t see a significant drop off.

“Tony Sparano, our O-line coach, he always tells me, ‘use your length, you’re long, you’re big guy, don’t let them get in your personal space,” Hill said. “I know if you’re close by me, I’m gonna shoot my hands and not let you get in my chest. That’s what most defensive guys want to do, get in your chest.”

Hill noted that he’s focusing on the mentality of playing the game, picking things up from the toughness of the other Vikings’ offensive lineman.

”You want to get that last shove,” he said.

Last year, outside of a short period with Jake Long, their lack of depth at tackle made it difficult to work the ball downfield the way Keenum did against Washington and it crushed the Vikings’ running game. This year, when Reiff or Remmers has been out – and even Nick Easton for that matter – the Vikings haven’t skipped a beat.

  • Foreman 44

    Good Read. Good O Line play requires a hive mentality. The Vikings OLine is seeing the game wit the same set of eyes and a confidence in each other that is contagious. Hill and Isadora both stepped up when their number was called.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Good read ~ Please keep it up ~ Enough with the Case vs Teddy BS ~

  • cka2nd

    And the only 2018 unrestricted free agent on the offensive line on the 53-man roster is Joe Berger, who is likely to retire after this season, anyway. Spielman and Zimmer will need to make decisions about Easton (Restricted FA) and Sirles (Exclusive Rights FA), but the other three starters and the rest of the bench – Hill, Isidora and Collins – are all under contract. I’d love to see Hill get an extension, but you’ve got to think that he might be looking for a starting job come 2019. You can always take a flier on some late-round draft picks or college free agents, but the only priority I see on the offensive line for next year, assuming Berger does retire, is drafting a guard in the first or second round to challenge Easton or Isidora for a starting job and upgrade the overall talent on the line.

  • Mike Sullivan

    The investment the Vikings have made in the offensive line has payed of in spades. Reiff is as solid as they come at Left Tackle, Hill has been a find, and all he does is produce, Remmers has created some stabilty at right tackle, We have our ten year center in Elflien, Easton has improved, Berger has been solid, And Isadora has played well when asked. They have that lunch pail mentality, and have been good in pass protection and have improved greatly in run blocking. They have some nice pieces to build upon for the future.





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Previous Story Catching on: Adam Thielen again puts on a superstar-like performance for Vikings Next Story Report: Vikings will stay with Case Keenum vs. Rams