Rough Night for Vikings OL Needs to Be a Blip

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Monday Night Football was a scene of bitter disappointment for the Minnesota Vikings. Divisional games should never be taken for granted, but the Vikings were largely expected to beat the Chicago Bears on home turf.

Rough Night for Vikings OL Needs to Be a Blip

The finger of blame was pointed in many directions, but one group underperformed from the standard they had set this season. It was a rough night for the Vikings’ offensive line, and it needs to be nothing more than a blip if the Vikings are to get back on track and keep a place in the playoffs.

The Vikings OL has been a pleasant surprise this season. We knew they had two good tackles in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill, but there were plenty of question marks concerning the interior. Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, Ezra Cleveland, and Dalton Risner have held up well this season. Vikings quarterbacks have been protected as well as they have been in a long time this season. That was not the case on Monday, as the Vikings OL couldn’t deal with the Bears defensive front.

Rough Night for Vikings
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The unit’s performance saw them drop out of the top five in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings. PFF dropped them to seven, which is still higher than we’ve seen a Vikings OL for years. However, the best way to maintain success with a backup or rookie QB is to have an OL playing excellent football. Whether it’s Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, or Jaren Hall at QB for the Vikings during the remaining games, Minnesota needs their OL back on top of their game.

Here is what PFF had to say about the OL performance against Chicago;

Minnesota’s offensive line struggled in pass protection against Chicago’s pass rush. The unit surrendered 16 pressures, including two sacks, on 36 dropbacks and ranked just 28th in pass-blocking efficiency in Week 12.. Center Garrett Bradbury earned a positive grade on 33.3% of run plays against the Bears, which was the highest rate among centers in Week 12.

Best player: Christian Darrisaw

Darrisaw had an uncharacteristic game as a run-blocker, with his 55.0 grade in that facet ranking as his worst since Week 3.

Zoltan Buday, Pro Football Focus

Raiders Pose One Particular Problem

We must wait until next week to find out who Kevin O’Connell decides on at quarterback. Whoever it is, they’re one particular problem that QB and the Vikings OL will face. Maxx Crosby. The Raiders edge rusher has been voted to back-to-back Pro Bowls, and if there was any doubt of his elite credentials, he is on pace to have his best season yet.

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Through the opening 12 games, he has 66 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 18 QB hits, 72 hurries, and an incredible 101 total pressures. Add in two pass deflections and a forced fumble and recovery for good measure, and you can see why Crosby is such a menace to opposing offenses.

Pro Football Focus gives him an overall grade of 91.4 — fourth among EDGE defenders. There is little doubt that Crosby is among the best in the league. And incredibly, Crosby has done this on a bad knee for most of the season.

The Raiders aren’t a one-man defense. Malcolm Koonce is playing well opposite Crosby, and Robert Spillane is a good pass rusher from inside linebacker. It will be a testing afternoon for the Vikings OL, and the Vikings need a better performance from the unit than they got last time out.