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Lunchbreak: Reiff Playing Pivotal Role in Vikings Offense

Posted Sep 28, 2017

There won’t be many secrets when the Vikings and Lions meet up Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The teams know each other well and have players who have gone against the other side at least a dozen times or more.

But Sunday’s tilt might feel a tad different for Riley Reiff, the Vikings left tackle who signed with Minnesota this offseason after spending the first five years of his career in Detroit.

With Reiff set to face his former team, Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com looked at how the tackle’s impact in Minnesota has allowed the Vikings to have the No. 2 offense in the NFL through three games.

Coller wrote:

All of the sudden, the NFL is noticing that Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are one of the league’s best receiving duos. They rank No. 2 and 3 in the league in yards. Rookie of the Year buzz has already started for Dalvin Cook, who’s led the Vikings to the third best running game in the NFL thus far.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has pointed out the overall success of his offensive line, but left tackle Riley Reiff hasn’t gotten much attention as one of the league’s best offseason signings.

In three games, Reiff has allowed zero sacks, zero hits and only six QB Hurries, according to Pro Football Focus data.

He’s also helped allow the Vikings to complete deep throws. They have averaged 8.6 yards per pass attempt (5th in the NFL) and haven’t turned the ball over. 

Reiff also appeared to make an impact on his new team this spring and summer before the 2017 season began, as he was named one of three offensive captains prior to the start of the season.

The former University of Iowa standout has made 72 career starts and has appeared in 80 games. He started 69 of the 77 games he played for Detroit.

ESPN: Rudolph is Vikings secret weapon on offense

Kyle Rudolph produced one of the best seasons for a tight end in Vikings history in 2016, hauling in 83 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns.

Rudolph set career highs in receptions and yards, and had the second-most touchdowns in a season of his career.

The former Notre Dame star is known for his pass-catching ability but ESPN recently highlighted another strong area of Rudolph’s game.

ESPN looked at the secret weapon for each NFL team and said that Rudolph’s pass blocking ability oftentimes goes unnoticed.

ESPN wrote:

Rudolph is best-known for his ability as a receiver, and he has delivered this season: He is one of just seven tight ends with double-digit targets and no drops. Even more impressive, though, has been his pass blocking. He leads all players at his position with 24 reps and has yielded just one pressure.

The Vikings have allowed quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Case Keenum to be sacked just three total times in 2017, the second-lowest total in the NFL.

Rudolph, a second-round pick in 2011, has 273 career catches for 2,696 yards and 30 touchdowns. 

Although he had just one catch for four yards Sunday against Tampa Bay, Rudolph’s contributions at the line of scrimmage helped Keenum throw for a career-best 369 yards, including 271 to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.