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Vikings Utilize Multiple O-Line Combinations in Preseason Win

Posted Aug 10, 2017

The Vikings spent the past two-plus weeks getting a look at different offensive line combinations, and they continued to move things around in their first preseason game.

Minnesota rolled out Rashod Hill (LT), Alex Boone (LG), Nick Easton (C), Joe Berger (RG) and Mike Remmers (RT) to open the game.

Even though it is Remmers’ second run with the Vikings, the evening marked his first start in Purple. He signed as a free agent in March.

Hill started in place of Riley Reiff, also signed in free agency. Reiff was injured in his first training camp practice with the Vikings and returned for individual, non-contact drills in the final two practices.

Starting quarterback Sam Bradford played the Vikings first three series behind the lineup. He finished 5-of-7 passing for 35 yards but was sacked twice by Buffalo’s defense.

Rookie Dalvin Cook rushed for 13 yards on five carries.

When Case Keenum rotated in at quarterback, the Vikings shuffled the offensive line once again.

Hill was left at left tackle, and Easton slid to left guard when third-round pick Pat Elflein made his NFL debut at center. Fifth-round selection Danny Isidora and second-year pro Willie Beavers entered at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

A little later, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer left Elflein, Isidora and Beavers in their respective roles but rotated in Jeremiah Sirles (LT) and Zac Kerin (LG).

Just before the half, T.J. Clemmings subbed in for Kerin at right guard. Clemmings is in his third season with the Vikings, having started all 16 games right tackle as a rookie. Last season, he started 14 games at tackle – 11 on the left side and three on the right.

The move to guard came this summer, when Zimmer said he wanted to see Clemmings in a position “where it’s a little bit more condensed” and that he believes guard is a better fit for the 25-year-old.

Behind the various offensive line combinations, Keenum was 11-of-16 passing for 121 yards and a passer rating of 90.9. He was not sacked.

Taylor Heinicke finished out the game at quarterback for Minnesota. During Heinicke’s time on the field, guards Austin Shepherd and Freddie Tagaloa and tackles Aviante Collins and Reid Fragel were given looks on the line. Elflein remained at center.

Midway through the third quarter, Heinicke adjusted to a low snap from Elflein and scrambled 16 yards for a first down.

Heinicke was sacked once during the contest for a loss of 11 yards.

Behind the various offensive line combinations, the Vikings accrued 90 rushing yards on 29 attempts, averaging 3.1 yards per carry.