Without rhythm you don’t run the ball. You don’t do much.
The Vikings got themselves out of their own rhythm with penalties and really atrocious blocking. Of all the issues facing the team here in the last week of preseason, the general out-of-syncness of the offensive line has to be the most worrisome. No one up there has played particularly well – including Steve Hutchinson, who’s supposed to be the rock. Ryan Cook has looked lost, but there’s no one worth a damn behind him so he continues to start. Matt Birk appears to have already packed it in, even though his contract doesn’t expire until the end of the season. And who knows where Bryant McKinnie‘s head is as he and all of us await the league’s decision on his suspension.
This was always a slightly overrated unit, at least among the national media (you’d swear by some of the comments on SportsCenter and the like that this O-line was second only to the famed Redskins “Hogs” line of the ’80s). Now it looks like a disaster. Hopefully the kinks will get worked out – but that prospect becomes an even dimmer one when you realize that McKinnie will be on the shelf likely for four weeks, meaning Artis Hicks, a guard by trade, will have to step in at left tackle. The organization’s decision to largely neglect the O-line in the draft the last couple of years may come back to bite them. Hard.