The Vikings can never quite match strength on one side of the ball with basic competence on the other. From the early Dennis Green teams that were all defense and no offense to the Moss-Carter versions that had plenty of offense and not enough defense to now, with a very good defense and an offense that sputters and spurts more often than not, the Vikings can’t find the balance necessary to rise above the rest of the NFC.
Coach Mike Zimmer, a defensive expert who is committed to becoming more involved with the offense, has plenty of praise for what he’s seen from this year’s team during the offseason program. In an interview with Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Zimmer praised various aspects of the unit that will be charged with scoring more points more consistently than in the past.
“Riley Reiff is playing left tackle, and he has done a nice job,” Zimmer told Hartman. “He’s going to go to work every day, make you compete, he’s going to make you work. I really like his mentality. Mike Remmers, who is playing the right tackle, is really doing the same thing. The thing I like about Mike is you know he gets a chance to go against Everson [Griffen] every day, so he’s going to give him a lot of different looks, and Danielle Hunter, he gives him a lot of different looks, different sets, changes things up, and he’s a battler and he’ll compete. The one thing, other than the way they’re fitting into the program, is that these two guys will really battle and compete.”
Zimmer believes Reiff and Remmers are “better in the run game, but these two guys have really impressed me this spring in the passing game, as well.” Zimmer added that the entire offensive line has done a better job with awareness as to pressure, and that “they’re all working on the same page.”
It’s still way too early, however, to make any sweeping proclamations about the team’s line, given that they’ve yet to truly block or hit.
“I’d say mostly now it’s just eye contact,” guard Alex Boone recently told PFT Live regarding the amount of contact in non-contact* practices. “Every now and then, somebody will accidentally trip and fall into somebody and the practice kind of stops. For the most part, as you look at practice, the ones versus ones is a very well-contained group. Guys understand how to control themselves. There’s not a lot going on. Twos versus twos, it kind of gets a little more ramped up, guys kind of falling into each other. Threes versus threes, it can be a little bit of a cluster. You really just kind of got to watch yourself. I think the key is, if you see someone falling or going down or you think you’re going to take someone out, just stop. I think that’s the one thing about the old veterans, you’ll kind of just see them slow up real quick.”
If that’s what’s truly happening, it’s hard to project the performances of Reiff, Remmers, and the rest of the line during OTAs and minicamp into what they’ll do when the real games begin in September.