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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings hope to have Berger, Sirles back vs. Cowboys

By Matthew Coller

The story of the Minnesota Vikings’ season has been the abundance of injuries on the offensive line. Against the Detroit Lions, the Vikings lost center Joe Berger and Jeremiah Sirles, forcing backups Nick Easton and Willie Beavers into the game. A report from the Pioneer Press citing sources says that both players have a chance to play on Thursday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys.

When asked if it was safe to say Berger was in concussion protocol, head coach Mike Zimmer would only say, “assume whatever you want.” He gave a similar answer concerning Sirles, commenting, “He’s had testing but I don’t know how he is.”

If Berger, who has been the Vikings best offensive lineman this year, can’t play, there is little question that Easton will fill in again. Minnesota acquired the former Harvard center via trade last October. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman was all-conference in college, but went undrafted and has not seen consistent playing time as of yet in the NFL. The Vikings have used him as a blocker in their goal line package.

“He was quick to get into where he went to,” Zimmer said. “He had power, got to the second level, finished plays.”

Prior to the 2015 draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote this of Easton:

“Plays with good body control and balance. Maintains desired posture through pass rep with wide base and sustained, mirrored movement. Takes good angles in space. Looks for work in pass pro and will bury a helmet into ribs of defensive tackles. Plays with poise and confidence. Responds well to blitz.”

There are more potential options at tackle if Sirles is out. In the Motor City, the Vikings turned to Willie Beavers, their 2016 fourth-round pick who was released after struggling during the preseason. He was only on the field for eight plays, but was pushed around multiple times in pass protection.

If they don’t trust Beavers, the Vikings could choose to honor guard Alex Boone’s request to play tackle and play Zac Kerin, who has appeared in four games this year, at guard. Boone played tackle at Ohio State and occasionally with the San Francisco 49ers.

Sirles’ injury could also open the door for Rashod Hill to see his first NFL action. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound tackle was picked up off the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad.

The post Vikings hope to have Berger, Sirles back vs. Cowboys appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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