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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Don’t overlook Vikings’ offensive line in win over Packers

By Matthew Coller

Naturally the biggest story to come out of Sunday’s 23-10 win fore the Minnesota Vikings over the Green Bay Packers was Aaron Rodgers’ injury. But the Vikings’ offensive line played a big role in insuring that the Packers wouldn’t overcome Rodgers’ absence.

Here’s how you know the Vikings’ offensive line is night and day from last year: Each lineman – to a man – was upset that they went three-and-out on the final drive. That’s the standard that’s been set.

When Rodgers went down, the Vikings knew that Green Bay’s offense would be limited and their job would be to grind out offensive production.

“We know we have a great defense, we knew they could control it, but yeah you’d lie to say that Rodgers going down wasn’t a factor, but we have a great defense,” Berger said.

The Vikings rushed 33 times for 112 yards – not flashy numbers, but necessary in a game where they knew controlling the clock would be important. In the third quarter, the offense produced points on two drives that took more than five minutes off the clock. They were also able to pound the ball into the end zone on a 3-yard run from Jerick McKinnon.

“That’s what we try to do, run the ball, if we can do that it opens up a lot of other things,” center Pat Elflein said. “We worked really hard at it.”

Elflein was at the center of another strong performance from the Vikings on screen passes. McKinnon caught a 27-yard screen for a touchdown after the Vikings picked off backup quarterback Brett Hundley. Later in the game, they even went to a shovel pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph, which appeared to catch the Packers off guard.

“I think we have a lot of athletic guys on the line,” Elflein said. “Case [Keenum] sets it up good, the running backs set it up good, then we’re athletic so we get out in space and then it’s good for us.”

The line was playing without one starter as Jeremiah Sirles filled in for Nick Easton. Sirles said he wasn’t completely pleased with his performance as he allowed several pressures against Case Keenum, but the Vikings’ O-line did not allow a sack.

”Jeremiah is always ready to go,” Elflein said. “He’s had his number called a few times to come in for a few plays during games or in practice and he’s always ready. He’s studies hard and works hard.”

Sirles has been asked to play different spots on the line, starting 10 games at right tackle last season.

“It’s great to have quality backups that you know can come in and play close or to the same level as a starter,” Berger said. “That was my role for a few years here. To have that is a luxury in the NFL.”

The post Don’t overlook Vikings’ offensive line in win over Packers appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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