General News Vikings’ Fatal Flaw is Interior Pass Protection

Can the Vikings protect their franchise quarterback?

Matt Harmon of recently released a series called ‘Fatal Flaws,‘ which examines the holes that remain on each team’s roster leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. When it came to the Vikings, Harmon brought up a good question: “Can the Minnesota Vikings protect Kirk Cousins?”

Here’s what he wrote:

Minnesota Vikings: Interior pass protection

The Vikings received overall strong play out of their 2017 offensive line, especially in the ground game. But the team did show some weaknesses in pass protection, allowing the ninth-highest pressure rate (29.8 percent) in the NFL. Minnesota also saw a starting interior lineman in Joe Berger opt to retire, putting the right guard position in question. They allowed the majority of their pressures (92) from that side of the offense last year. The Vikings don’t have many glaring needs to fill on the roster and should be aggressive in finding a solution on the line during the upcoming draft in order to maximize their investment in Kirk Cousins. For all the good he brings, Cousins will struggle with defenders in his face and threw an NFL-high eight interceptions under pressure in 2017.

Solution: The Vikings will have some options available to them late in the first round. Players like Will Hernandez and Isaiah Wynn would fit the type of identity the team looks for on the line. Wynn primarily played left tackle for Georgia, but Daniel Jeremiah believes “he has Pro Bowl ability” if kicked inside. The Vikes experimented with deploying Mike Remmers at guard last season, albeit to mixed results, and could go for a right tackle if they want to leave him there.

The Vikings could use depth at a few positions, but with offensive line the only area in need of an upgrade, the team’s roster is in very good shape. Losing Joe Berger (to retirement) and Jeremiah Sirles (to the Panthers) in free agency didn’t help matters, but the Vikings signed Tom Compton to replace the depth lost with the departure of Sirles, and the team seems intent on finding Berger’s replacement in the draft.

Minnesota currently holds eight picks. The Draft begins on April 26th.

  1. Round 1 – Pick #30
  2. Round 2 – Pick #62
  3. Round 3 – Pick #94
  4. Round 5 – Pick #167
  5. Round 6 – Pick #204
  6. Round 6 – Pick #213
  7. Round 6 – Pick #218
  8. Round 7 – Pick #225

Left guard Nick Easton has until April 20th to sign his offer sheet. The Vikings placed a second-round tender on Easton on March 12th. He will earn $2.9 million in 2018. Minnesota would receive a second-round pick if another team signs Easton away from the Vikings.

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and is an IT nerd by day. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBormanNFL.

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  1. I’d still like to bring in a veteran starter, even an older one, to serve as the bridge starter at RG, simply because you can’t COUNT on a rookie playing well

  2. I’m really hoping someone signs Nick Easton would love an extra second round pick

    1. I don’t see that happening and I’m a Easton fan ~ Not fanboy ~ Just a fan of all guys who go undrafted and wind up making good starter ~

      I just don’t see anyone giving a 2nd for Easton and I believe that’s the reason they put the 2nd on him ~

  3. While I’m an Easton fan ((( a fan of all undrafted guys who wind up making good starters ))) I would have no problem if they drafted an OG and a Center\OG in the first 3 rounds ~ If one is capable of beating out Easton great I’m all for improvement no matter where its at or who is replaced ~ Plus we don’t know how they feel about Danny Isidora ~ ??? He didn’t seem strong enough when he got some playing time last year when Berger and Easton both missed a couple of games ~ But he has the size and movement skill they like ((( Spielman said ))) they like in a OG ~ The middle needs beefing up even if Berger had come back ~ I thought he looked old near the end of the season and I say this being a fan of his ~ I believe he also went undrafted ~ ??? Or he was a very late round draft pick who turned into a fine Center\OG after bouncing around for his first 7 or so years in the NFL ~

    However, if they are fine with Easton then great they still could use a outstanding OG\Center backup as well as a new and improved right OG ~ So I will once again leave it to Zimmer and Spielman to figure out just what this team needs ~

    1. I know the Vikings like Easton and I also think it’s possible he starts the season as the No. 1 backup at all three interior OL positions. That would mean an ideal draft.

      As far as Isidora, I’d like to see what he can do with more playing time.