During their third preseason game last Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings allowed Sam Bradford to be sacked three times by the San Francisco 49ers.
Following their preseason win over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday, a bunch of skepticism began to emerge about the play of the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line. Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford was sacked three times in the first half on Sunday and it seems quite easy to place the blame for that happening on the team’s blockers up front.
However, upon taking a closer look at the game film against the 49ers, one should notice a few things.
The first “sack” Minnesota allowed on Sunday was not really much of a sack as it was a botched play-action handoff that resulted in a fumble and Bradford diving onto the ball. Technically it counts, but only the quarterback and the running back are to blame for this happening.
For the second sack, the finger should be pointed at Vikings tight end David Morgan. For some reason, Morgan lunges forward as soon as the ball is snapped. This allowed 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead to easily get by the tight end and bring Bradford down for the sack.
It seems like Morgan was supposed to block blitzing San Francisco safety Eric Reid, but possibly got confused and instead made the bad decision to try and block Armstead after a late reaction.
As for the third sack that Minnesota allowed on Sunday, the line did not recognize the 49ers’ blitz quick enough and Vikings right tackle Mike Remmers was forced to try and block two defenders at once. Unsurprisingly, the two-on-one scenario did not work out in Minnesota’s favor and Bradford went down again.
Other than these two plays, the majority of the Vikings’ first-team offensive line played pretty well against San Francisco. They even showed improvement in the second quarter when they were able to handle the 49ers rushing three defenders on the right side of the line.
The preseason is a time for players to work on technique and get the kinks out of their system before the real football begins in the regular season (just ask Mr. Stefon “Dropsies” Diggs). Communication seems to be what Minnesota’s offensive line needs to work on the most before they open the year against the New Orleans Saints on September 11.
That should improve over time as the Vikings’ blockers get more used to working with each other during the year. But to think that Minnesota’s offensive line is not a thousand times better than it was a season ago would be a mistake.
They could not block a toddler in a candy store last year. And that is being nice.