Minnesota's men in the trenches are getting some love around the league.
NFL Media's Shaun O'Hara, a former NFL lineman, recently ranked his five best offensive lines in football.
The three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion pegged the Vikings at No. 5. O'Hara's ranking was based on last year's performance and projections for the 2016 season.
O'Hara mentioned Minnesota's ability to run the football — running back Adrian Peterson led the NFL in 2015 with 1,485 yards — as a key reason why the Vikings made the list.
"They're facing 8-man boxes and they're still finding a way to run the football," O'Hara said. "That says the big fellas up front are getting it done."
The Vikings were the only team that started the same five offensive linemen in every game last season: left tackle Matt Kalil, left guard Brandon Fusco, center Joe Berger, right guard Mike Harris and right tackle T.J. Clemmings.
Those five linemen return this season, plus center John Sullivan and tackle Phil Loadholt, both of whom missed the entire 2015 season due to injuries.
The Vikings also signed guard Alex Boone and tackle Andre Smith as free agents, meaning Minnesota has nine linemen who have started all 16 games in a season at least once.
Hartman: Zimmer has led turnaround for Vikings
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is heading into his third season with the franchise and has already established himself as one of the league's best coaches.
Columnist Sid Hartman of the Star-Tribune noted that Minnesota is primed for a run of success based on the turnaround Zimmer has engineered.
*It's easy to see why many observers believe Zimmer was one of the best NFL coaching hires in recent years. He took over the Vikings after a dismal 5-10-1 season in 2013. *
Then in 2014 he lost Adrian Peterson after the first game of the year and brought in a rookie quarterback to start after four games. The fact that the team finished 7-9 showed its promise and the ability of Zimmer to adapt to anything.
Hartman noted the losses of Sullivan and Loadholt before the 2015 season began, but Minnesota posted an 11-5 record to win the NFC North.
Zimmer compiled an 18-14 regular season record in his first two years in the league, tied with Houston's Bill O'Brien for the best mark for coaches hired in 2014.
Peterson could net 4th rushing title
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson nabbed his third career rushing title last season with 1,485 yards.
A trio of NFL.com analysts think the 31-year-old will get another one this year.
Peterson and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley each received three votes from the six-person panel.
Here's what the analysts had to say about Peterson:
Heath Evans: Adrian Peterson is just a different breed, and he continues to impress me year after year. I expect him to continue dominating, even as the Vikings' passing game and defense improve. The only thing that could keep him from winning his fourth rushing title would be an injury.
Ike Taylor: Adrian Peterson is going to win the rushing title once again. I think the Vikings' passing game is going to be the best it has been since Teddy Bridgewater joined the team in 2014, with Stefon Diggs, first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell and tight end Kyle Rudolph at the young QB's disposal. That will open up the run game a little bit more for AP.
Nate Burleson: *History has taught us not to count on an aging back to lead the league in rushing. History also has taught us not to doubt Adrian Peterson. Todd Gurley will be a close second, followed by Ezekiel Elliott. *
When AP sets his mind to something, he's going to accomplish it. On top of that, Peterson is the go-to player in Minnesota's offense. He had 327 carries last season, and I expect he'll have around that same amount again in 2016.