What difference will the new offensive line make?
Of course, the offense won’t look much different if the Vikings offensive line doesn’t get their act together. Last season, Minnesota sabotaged their own offensive output by slapping together a Frankenstein-like group of blockers that had multiple players out of position.
According to Pro Football Focus, this resulted in a total of 182 pressures from the five starters (Riley Reiff, Tom Compton, Pat Elflein, Mike Remmers, Brian O’Neill) in the trenches and 76 from starting guards Remmers and Compton alone.
This year, the Vikings are trying to put more of their guys in a position to succeed. While Reiff and O’Neill will return to their tackle spots, Minnesota moved Elflein to left guard and signed Tennesse Titans castoff Josh Kline to be their right guard. This also includes the addition of first-round pick Garrett Bradbury, who already has gotten rave reviews from his teammates (well, except for one).
Even with the personnel upgrade, the Vikings believe that their new zone-blocking scheme that emphasizes movement and smarts will be a better fit than the power scheme that was run under DeFilippo last season.
In a perfect world, the offensive line would establish itself early and then lead way for the second string where fourth-round pick Dru Samia is also looking to make a positive first impression. If Minnesota can do that, it will be a successful night for the offense.