Well, that’s not entirely accurate. The Vikings did re-sign three players who help bolster depth on the offensive line in veteran swing tackle Rashod Hill and guards Dakota Dozier and Brett Jones. But when it comes to Minnesota’s starting five — the players who are responsible for protecting quarterback Kirk Cousins most often — there’s still a problem.nfl cheap jerseys nike
General manager Rick Spielman admitted the line is a “work in progress” two months ago at the NFL combine. Coach Mike Zimmer echoed those sentiments, noting just how important continuing to tinker with this unit will be for the success of the offense.
“I really believe in my heart that if we continue to give Kirk [Cousins] time, he’s going to continue to ascend. That’s part of it,” Zimmer said. “Just continuing to improve the offensive line, whether it’s technique or players that are here or players in the draft and free agency.”
Minnesota was one of the most prolific play-action teams but struggled without it last season. According to ESPN’s pass block win rate using NFL Next Gen Stats, the Vikings sustained their blocks through 2.5 seconds on just 48% of their non play-action dropbacks, which ranked 27th in the NFL.nfl nike jerseys for cheap
That’s not sustainable, and the Vikings know it. Until they make significant improvements to the offensive line, either by adding a free-agent veteran or the draft, their $66 million commitment to Cousins with a two-year extension last month may all be for naught.
This is nothing new, as the Vikings have aimed to solve this problem for years. How might they go about it this time? Let’s take a look at their options.
Minnesota has a spot to fill at right guard after Josh Kline was cut as a result of salary-cap issues in free agency. A good place to start in finding his replacement will be with the talent already under contract.
Dru Samia, a 2019 fourth-round pick, was the epitome of the draft-and-develop philosophy. Samia and former rookie tackle Oli Udoh were given a season to learn Minnesota’s offense from the players in front of them.
“I think we got some young guys that we basically redshirted this year that I think will have opportunities to be good football players,” Zimmer said at the end of the season. “I’m hoping that becomes even more of a strength for us next year.”