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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Will Vikings’ trust in Rashod Hill pay off?

By Matthew Coller

Priority No. 1 this offseason for the Minnesota Vikings was to fix their offensive line – and not just the starting five, but the depth as well.

They poured big dollars into starters at left and right tackle and drafted two promising interior offensive linemen.

At backup tackle, however, the Vikings elected not to sign or draft anyone – even when a handful of experienced free agents were available.

They left the No. 3 tackle spot alone because they were confident in Rashod Hill.

“I think the biggest thing with Rashod is if he continues to be good with his sets and his hand placement, he’s a pretty tough guy to pass rush against,” head coach Mike Zimmer said Monday.

Their trust in Hill is appearing to pay off. He was pressed into duty on the first day of training camp after starter Riley Reiff suffered a back injury. Since taking over, Hill has shown potential while matching up with Everson Griffen in practice and performed well with the first team in both preseason games.

“He’s improved with his technique every day, he’s improved with his mental errors every day, so that’s kind of been the process, but he has to keep cleaning things up to get to where he needs to be,” Zimmer said.

The Vikings’ head coach was critical of one sack that Hill (and Dalvin Cook) allowed against Buffalo, but the former Southern Mississippi lineman kept Sam Bradford safe against Seattle.

With Reiff back practicing fully Monday, Hill mixed in on the right side, presumably to get reps in case Mike Remmers should get hurt.

The Vikings’ belief in Hill stems from the one regular season game he played last year against the Chicago Bears. Hill came off the bench after TJ Clemmings went down with an injury and did not give up a QB pressure or sack.

Clearly the Vikings would prefer not to have to use their No. 3 tackle very often. Mike Zimmer, who made an apt comparison on Monday when he joked that last year’s injuries were like the Titanic sinking, would prefer his line stay afloat this year. But if Reiff’s back injury persists or the Vikings are hit with a random rash of injuries, they will feel much more comfortable playing Hill than the group of replacements from 2016.

Behind Hill, there are question marks. Has Willie Beavers shown enough to make the team? Has Jeremiah Sirles learned from his experience at tackle last season?

The Vikings will have some tough calls with backup tackles when deciding on a 53-man roster, but Hill has secured his role.

The post Will Vikings’ trust in Rashod Hill pay off? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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