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Lunchbreak: The Value of a Healthy Offensive Line

Posted Jan 9, 2017

It’s no secret that the Vikings offensive line was hit hard by a barrage of injuries throughout the 2016 season, forcing Minnesota to field eight different starting combinations.

John Holler of Viking Update delved into not only Minnesota’s unit but also the offensive lines of current playoff teams. Holler used some of the stats to emphasize the value of a healthy line that remains consistent throughout the season. Holler wrote:

Of the 1,053 plays the Vikings offense ran, these were the top five players in terms of when the ball was snapped and their percentage of those plays that they were a part of.

T.J. Clemmings (883, 83.9 percent), Alex Boone (873, 82.9 percent), Joe Berger (853, 81.0 percent), Brandon Fusco (835, 79.3 percent), Jeremiah Sirles (773, 73.4 percent).

Holler pointed out that neither Clemmings nor Sirles were originally slated as starters, and Berger moved from center to guard in the wake of additional injuries down the stretch.

Holler noted a healthier offensive line for each of the 12 teams that made the playoffs, emphasizing the Falcons (11-5), Patriots (14-2) and Chiefs (12-4):

Atlanta – The five starting offensive linemen missed a total of 122 of a possible 5,195 snaps – playing a combined total of 97.7 percent of potential snaps.

New England – The five starting offensive linemen missed a total of 285 out of a possible 5,590 snaps – an impressive 94.9 percent.

Kansas City – Tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz played all of the Chiefs 1,022 snaps and center Mitch Morse missed just three snaps.

Krammer on Adrian Peterson’s career moments

Adrian Peterson has recorded a number of career games over his 10 years with the Vikings.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune looked back over Peterson’s 123 games in Minnesota and highlighted the running back’s top career moments, as well as a few low points. He first tabbed a game against the Bears during Peterson’s debut season. Krammer wrote:

As a rookie, Adrian Peterson had a couple of 100-yard games at home, but his statement to the league came during his first trip to Soldier Field [on Oct. 14, 2007]. He churned out 361 all-purpose yards, including 224 rushing (with three touchdowns), 128 on kickoff returns and nine receiving. The Vikings staved off the Bears comeback when Peterson’s 53-yard return set up a winning field goal in the closing seconds.

Peterson’s most recent game highlighted by Krammer was the Vikings matchup against the Raiders on Nov. 15, 2015.

On his way to his third NFL rushing title, Peterson tied O.J. Simpson for the most 200-yard rushing games in league history. Peterson’s 203 rushing yards against the Raiders marked the sixth such game of his career and sealed the Vikings seventh win on their way to the NFC North title.

Krammer noted that Peterson was 30 years old when he was named the league’s leading rusher for the third time.

The three other games on Krammer’s list were as follows:

• Nov. 4, 2007: Peterson played against Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson and racked up 296 rushing yards, surpassing Tomlinson for the single-game NFL rushing record.

• Sept. 13, 2009: The Vikings win over the Browns was headlined by Peterson’s 64-yard touchdown run.

• Dec. 30, 2012: Peterson ran for 199 yards to help Minnesota defeat Green Bay by three points and clinch a playoff spot.