Upgraded Offensive Line
This takeaway comes with a word of warning, the New Orleans Saints ranked 27th in the league with a paltry 30 sacks in 2016 and failed to make any noticeable improvements to their pass-rushing core in the offseason. With that said, the redeveloped Minnesota offensive line showed signs of life on Monday night.
Given that the 2016 version of the unit struggled against all opponents, the new look offensive line provided a breath of fresh air to Vikings fans as they provided the ground work for the offense to flourish. The big fellas up front only gave up a solitary sack and two QB hits, across the board they had a respectable night in pass protection.
The left side of the line looked especially stout with Reilly Reiff impressing and gaining an 83.1 Pro Football Focus grade.
The right side of the line did give cause for concern with Mike Remmers having some questionable moments, negating a nice play with a holding call and allowing the only sack of the night. Hopefully Remmers will improve before opposing teams figure out consistently sending their most talented pass rusher at him is the quickest way to a sack.
In their run blocking duties the o-line had a solid outing. The Vikings’ running backs didn’t always have the biggest holes to work with, but when the opportunities were there, they took full advantage. The new look interior of Easton, Elflein, and Berger made some headlines as they helped the Vikings gain 129 yards on the ground.
You can see a few examples of how they did it below. Elflein getting downfield to demolish opposing players on a swing pass, made me sit up and take notice.
Sterner tests unquestionably lie ahead, starting with the Steelers coming off a seven sack performance. If the offensive line can keep Bradford fairly clean against Pittsburgh, Minnesota may just have a competent unit on their hands.