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3 Observations: Vikings Shuffle O-Line Combinations

Posted Aug 13, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings were forced indoors Sunday, practicing inside the Winter Park field house due to rainy weather.

Minnesota wore helmets, shoulder pads and shorts and still got around two hours of work done in preparation for Friday night’s preseason game in Seattle.

The Vikings are off Monday and will return to practice Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here are three observations from Sunday’s session:

1. Mixing and matching

When everyone is healthy, it appears the only position on the offensive line that hasn’t been determined is the center spot.

But if another player isn’t in, that could create a scenario of shuffling for the Vikings.

That was the case Sunday when Vikings left guard Alex Boone did not practice. Instead of plugging one player into Boone’s spot, Minnesota mixed and matched with numerous line combinations.

Riley Reiff and Rashod Hill each took first-team reps while Pat Elflein and Nick Easton split time at center. But both also lined up on the line together, as Easton and Elflein each spent time at left guard when the other was at center.

Jeremiah Sirles saw action at both guard spots, including filling in for right guard Joe Berger at times. The only mainstay on the line was Mike Remmers, who spent the entirety of practice as the only first-team right tackle.

2. The ongoing kicker battle

Vikings coaches got their first chance to look at kickers Kai Forbath and Marshall Koehn in preseason action last week in Buffalo. Forbath made a 36-yard field goal and each player made an extra point. 

The position battle continued indoors Sunday as Koehn made all four of his field goals in a special teams period, hitting from 43, 46, 49 and 52 yards. Forbath made three of his four kicks, pushing his 46-yard try wide to the left.

Koehn wasn’t entirely perfect on the day, however, as he missed a 58-yard field goal attempt during a situational drill later in practice. The kick came with the score tied at 23 and 25 seconds left on the clock.

3. Stunting the opposition

The Seahawks have one of the toughest defensive lines in the NFL, meaning Friday will be a stern test for the Vikings.

Minnesota gave its offensive linemen some quality work Sunday by rushing two defensive linemen against a pair of offensive players. The twist was that the defensive linemen stunted during the drill, meaning the switched rushing lanes and forced the offensive linemen to adjust.

Perhaps the best move of the drill came from defensive end Danielle Hunter, who swam inside and used a quick burst to get to the would-be quarterback. 

After the drill, Vikings defensive end Brian Robison pulled rookies Ifeadi Odenigbo and Dylan Bradley aside to give them a tutorial few pass rush tips.