Once a concern, new look Vikings’ offensive line is cruising

Published 7:38 am Thursday, October 26, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE — By far the biggest concern about the Minnesota Vikings at the beginning of this season has been alleviated for now, with a stout performance by the once-beleaguered offensive line.

The new look for this group has sure gone over well. Staying relatively healthy was a good start.

“They’re just solid in everything they do,” coach Mike Zimmer said.

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The improvement has been almost staggering, though with an entirely new lineup it’s hardly fair to compare this season with the debacle in 2016 that included eight starting combinations. The quarterbacks have been sacked nine times, the fourth-lowest total in the league. The Vikings are also tied for the NFL lead with 33 plays that gained 20 or more yards. Nine of those were runs, which ranks second in the league.

“Great guys. Great room,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “They’re all really invested in what we’re doing, which is really cool.”

Keenum has gone the last 2½ games without being taken down behind the line of scrimmage.

“We’re not worried about whoever is back there,” right tackle Mike Remmers said. “We’re just doing the best we possibly can and blocking as long as we possibly can.”

Against a dangerous Baltimore defense, the offensive line had its best collective game yet on Sunday. Left tackle Riley Reiff was forced out in the third quarter with a knee injury. Left guard Jeremiah Sirles, making his second straight start for Nick Easton (calf), departed in the second quarter with a knee injury. But Rashod Hill (for Reiff) and rookie Danny Isidora (for Sirles) stepped in seamlessly as Latavius Murray rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown. Several players remarked they didn’t notice Reiff was missing right away.

“It’s fun to see the back of his jersey running away from us,” right guard Joe Berger said.