3 Players The Vikings Should NOT Start On Offensive Line

Let’s Reid between the lines…

With free agency in full swing, the Vikings have signed one new offensive lineman (Mason Cole) and retained two others (Rashod Hill and Dakota Dozier). These players should make for good backups, but they do not belong in the starting five.

Rashod Hill is a known product. We’ve seen him many times as both an injury substitution, and a starting tackle. It’s hard to say what causes it, but Hill plays great as a backup only to struggle mightily as a starter. Fans can be glad to have him around again on a cheap one year deal, but he should not be considered a bookend for the O-line.

Mason Cole was acquired a couple weeks ago from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a sixth round pick. Social media can be deceiving when it comes to “analyzing” new players. Many fan accounts eagerly jumped to saying he would be the Vikings new starter at left guard, no questions asked. However, it’s important to quiet the hype and look at players objectively. 

Cole still has some upside as a 25 year old athlete, but Pro Football Focus gave him only a 46.1 pass blocking grade last year. The fact that it only took a sixth rough pick to trade for him says a lot too. Sadly, Mason Cole is not the starter Minnesota needs protecting Kirk Cousins at guard.

Dakota Dozier is in a similar situation to Cole. Dozier has been a guard in the league for a few years, but he continues to earn poor pass blocking grades from PFF. He is familiar with offensive line coach Rick Dennison’s run blocking scheme, but that isn’t enough to compensate for his suspect pass protection skills. Dozier will have to dig deep to even make the roster coming out of training camp.

As the draft approaches, it’s good that Minnesota has already made some moves on the offensive line. That said, the position group is still in dire need of upgrades via free agency or the draft.

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12 days ago

I don’t see the issue that was a great tackle by Dozier:)

11 days ago

I’ve got no problem with Cole competing to start as a guard. Nick Olson did a pretty good breakdown of him, showing why Cole seemed lost as a center but might turn out OK at guard.

Hill might be an acceptable bridge starter at LT (preferable to RT), especially if you expect your LTOTF to replace him before the season is too far gone. And Hill wasn’t the only Vikings’ O lineman to handle stunts poorly. Brian O’Neill also flubbed some of them last year, and Joe Johnson’s in depth examination of the O line with a number of former O linemen and coaches identified stunts as a particular problem across Rick Dennison’s line.

Dozier is an acceptable back-up and spot starter, only. Allowing him to compete for a starting position last year was madness, utter madness.

11 days ago

You can change your body a lot in six months if you put your mind to it. Cole and Dozier need to get stronger. If they come back the same, they should never start another game.

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