EAGAN, Minn. — A revamped and rebuilt offensive line was a key reason for the Vikings offensive success in 2017.
Minnesota essentially had four new starters up front, and the reshuffling paid off in a big way as the Vikings jumped from 32nd to seventh in total rushing offense.
New veteran starters such as Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers brought stability to the line after joining Minnesota during free agency. Center Pat Elflein produced a solid season and was named to PFWA’s All-Rookie Team. With the majority of the starters set to return, the Vikings big boys will look for continued success in 2018.
Returning players: T Aviante Collins, G Nick Easton, C Cornelius Edison, C Pat Elflein, T Rashod Hill, G Danny Isidora, T Dieugot Joseph, T Cedrick Lang, T Storm Norton, T Riley Reiff, T Mike Remmers
New Additions: C Josh Andrews, G Tom Compton, G Chris Gonzalez, G Colby Gossett, T Brian O’Neill
Stat from 2017: Minnesota’s offensive line ranked eighth in the league by allowing sacks on 5.12 percent of all passing plays in 2017. That was a drastic improvement from 2016, when the unit was 23rd in the NFL with an allowed sack rate of 6.46 percent.
From the Position Room: Tony Sparano liked what he saw in 2017.
The Vikings offensive line coach recently told Vikings.com that he was proud of the unit’s ability to click and jell as the season progressed.
“They played smart football,” Sparano said. “We didn’t beat ourselves, we didn’t do things to hurt ourselves up front that way.
“We were able to run the football well, and I like the fact that we took a bunch of guys and kind of molded them into one,” Sparano added. “They really came together as just one group.”
How will the offensive line look in 2018?
Reiff (left tackle) and Elflein (center) are locked into their spots, while Remmers spent the majority of the spring at right guard and Hill was at right tackle. Easton, who took over at center for Elflein as he rehabbed from an ankle injury, should be a candidate at left guard again.
Isidora and Compton split time at left guard in the spring, while others such as Andrews, O’Neill and Gossett could look to carve out a role, too.
Quotable: “The biggest difference is probably the mental grasp I have over the game — how offenses work, how defenses work, defenses in our division and just overall in the NFL, you kind of see certain things that teams like to do. Just coming in already prepped up on that from experience has got me ahead of the game a little bit.”
— Elflein on his mindset heading into his second season
“Just come out and compete every day. My personal expectation is to not make the same mistake twice. I’m trying to get better at one thing each day. Just stay consistent.
“I don’t want to fluctuate up and down, I want to be consistent on and off the field. I’m working on trying to get better each day and perfecting my craft each day. When you get tired, your technique goes out the door. I’m trying to stay fundamental in my technique.”
— Hill on his expectations for 2018
Tickets are still available for 2018 Verizon Vikings Training Camp at the TCO Performance Center for select dates. Click here to access more information.
Best of the Offseason: Offensive Line
View the best images of the Vikings offensive line throughout the entire offseason program at the TCO Performance Center.