New in 2018, Action Reaction will take a look at how the Vikings faced a pre-game question with in-game action and follow up with post-game reaction.
How will the Vikings offensive line handle all of the changes on the interior?
It was a fair question because right guard Danny Isidora (seven games, one start) was the only one of the three starters Saturday who had previously suited up for the Vikings. He was joined by center Cornelius Edison, who was replacing Nick Easton who had been filling in for Pat Elflein, and Tom Compton.
The Vikings were able to establish the run early in the game. Latavius Murray busted loose for gains of 20 and 21 on his first two carries of the preseason.
The first run by the "Tay Train" benefits from a gap created by a combination block by right tackle Rashod Hill and tight end David Morgan on Derek Wolfe and a nice solo block by tight end Kyle Rudolph on rookie outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (the fifth overall pick of 2018), who started in place of Von Miller.
On the next play, the Vikings line up in an offset I-formation. Fullback C.J. Ham starts on the left of the invisible line between Cousins (under center) and Murray but shifts to the right side. The Vikings offensive linemen move in unison to their right. Isidora and Hill muscle Broncos defenders well out of Murray's way, and Ham comes up to make a block on Brandon Marshall to spring Murray.
After establishing the run, the Vikings are able to implement play-action on a pass from Kirk Cousins to Ham that gained 7.
Cousins follows with an anticipatory throw to Stefon Diggs, who makes a diving catch for a gain of 28 to the Denver 3-yard line.
After two runs by Murray net 2 yards (short-yardage might be the lone area for improvement on the drive), Cousins sees the Broncos blitz and counters with a quick slant, zipping the ball to Diggs for a 1-yard touchdown to complete their night.
On the Vikings next series, Minnesota subbed in Aviante Collins for left tackle Riley Reiff. Collins later played left guard and made a key block on the 78-yard, catch-and-run touchdown by Roc Thomas.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
"We ran the ball well. I thought the offensive line did a nice job coming off the ball. I thought Latavius ran the ball well, and Kirk made some good throws."
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins
"When you look at the run game, I could not believe how many explosive runs we had. I thought they did a great job in protection, as well. It was efficient. It was a small sample size but a good start."
Vikings quarterback Trevor Siemian
"Those guys are doing a really good job. There have been guys in and out with the first group, second group … all the guys have done a really good job of stepping in and filling in. The older guys in that room have done a really good job leading the way."
Vikings running back Roc Thomas
"The offensive line blocked great. It was an excellent game up front blocking-wise. The scheme we had and the game plan we had was great, so I feel pretty good right now."