The Vikings made a late change to their starting offensive line when they released guard Alex Boone and that meant the group that started on Monday night against the Saints didn’t have much time together during the preseason.
That wasn’t something you’d have picked up without prior knowledge while watching them against New Orleans. The Vikings blockers gave Sam Bradford time to deliver passes downfield and they opened up space for Dalvin Cook to run on the way to a 29-19 win.
It was a performance that bore little resemblance to last year’s struggles up front and caused coach Mike Zimmer to call the line “outstanding” in his postgame press conference. Zimmer found ways to praise their effort when asked about others on offense and said he thinks things can get even better.
“Well they played together in the Seattle game a little bit and they’ve been practicing this way for quite a while,” Zimmer said. “I thought, a lot of the things that we did it was easy for them to communicate those things. I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to get better.”
It was the first NFL game for rookie center Pat Elflein and the first game as Vikings for left tackle Riley Reiff and right tackle Mike Remmers. Left guard Nick Easton and right guard Joe Berger were on last year’s team, but they are manning new spots on the line so something new was in the air across the board for Minnesota.
The new look was a good one on Monday night and the Vikings’ hopes for 2017 will look good if that should hold up all year.