Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rashod Hill

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

A strong second half performance lifts the Minnesota Vikings over the Los Angeles Rams.

The box score reveals a big game from the wide receiver, running back and quarterback. But what’s missing is the effort from the men in the trenches. In Sunday’s 24-7 victory over the Rams, both the Vikings offensive and defensive lines came up big.

The Vikings defense allowed a total of 45 rushing yards. Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley, who averaged 84 rushing yards per game entering the Week 11 matchup, ran for 37 yards on 15 carries (2.47 yards per carry).

The Vikings limited Rams quarterback Jared Goff to 225 yards on 23 of 37 (62%) passing with zero touchdowns and interceptions. The defense held Los Angeles to 254 yards of total offense. The group put constant pressure on Goff, including sacks by Danielle Hunter and Tashawn Bower and hits by Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Recap of Monday’s press conference with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

After a victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, the Vikings are in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. This Sunday, they take on a team that’s 1-22 the last two seasons. Although the matchup screams blowout, they must take care of business in order to enter next week’s bye week with momentum and, perhaps more importantly, a happy coach.

Special Teams

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer opened the presser by saying, “I thought it was a good team win [Sunday]. Baltimore special teams are very, very good. They’re good year-in and year-out… I thought we played outstanding on special teams. We changed the field position quite a few times. Punted the ball, kicked the ball well, covered, and had some good returns. So that was a big part of [the win Sunday].”

Offensive Line Performance

The performance of the Vikings offensive line is a large reason why the team is averaging 4.3 yards per carry this season after averaging just 3.2 YPC last season. “Our guys can get to the second level because we’re athletic…it’s allowing us to get some better runs,” said Zimmer. The unit is also paving the way for a more potent passing attack.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Week 6 Injury Report

In Sunday’s divisional showdown against the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers (4-1), the Minnesota Vikings (3-2) will be without their starting quarterback and top receiver. Sam Bradford, who has missed four of the past five games, is day-to-day with a knee injury, while Stefon Diggs is nursing a hamstring injury.

Bradford reached a point of being unable to protect himself Monday night against the Chicago Bears, but he did not suffer a new injury in his knee, according to team trainer Eric Sugarman. After missing practice this week, he was officially ruled out by head coach Mike Zimmer Friday.

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Turnstile, he is not.

Riley Reiff turns heads
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Duct tape may prove a quick fix for leaky pipes, but as every DIY repairman knows, a patchwork job only lasts so long. In the NFL, where leaks in the offensive line can flood a team’s Super Bowl aspirations, duct tape is the least desirable option in a general manager’s toolbox.

Jake Long, Jeremiah Sirles, Matt Kalil, and T.J. Clemmings were just that — temporary measures in the season-long effort to protect Sam Bradford‘s blindside. The Minnesota Vikings survived the year, but not without catastrophe along the way. General manager Rick Spielman recognized he’d need more than a roll of tape to fix the critical infrastructure; he’d need to replace the pipes completely.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2017 Minnesota Vikings Offensive Line

After toying with many different combinations throughout the preseason, the Vikings offensive line starters have finally been settled — at least for now.

The revamped group features new starters across the board, a new blocking scheme, and some rookie talent to develop.

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