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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings injuries on offensive line are cause for concern

By Matthew Coller

At one point in the fourth quarter, it looked like 2016 all over again.

The Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line had four new faces or players in different spots from last week. Quarterback Case Keenum and the Vikings’ running attack struggled with the jumbled group. Keenum was sacked six times and Latavius Murray finished with just 14 yards on nine carries.

“Obviously we struggled on certain plays, but I wouldn’t put it on Pat Elflein being out,” Keenum said. “I think Tony Sparano does a great job shuffling those guys around in practice and I got a lot of snaps with Nick Easton in the preseason as a center…so you move them around and lots of different things, it takes some adjustments but I think communication wise they do a good job.”

The Vikings were without starting center Pat Elflein, who has been one of the team’s most valuable players this season. He missed the game with a shoulder injury, forcing Nick Easton to play center and Jeremiah Sirles to left guard.

Rashod Hill was already filling in for Mike Remmers to start the game, but Hill was asked to move to left tackle when Riley Reiff suffered an ankle injury late in the third quarter.

“We took this loss,” Hill said. “We feel like we could have given more time to Case today. He got too many times for us to say. We have to correct our mistakes and keep pushing.”

Rookie Danny Isidora was pushed into action in the fourth quarter as Sirles moved to right tackle to replace Hill’s empty spot. While the Vikings have liked Isidora, he was no match for Kawann Short, one of the NFL’s elite defensive tackles. Short finished with two sacks.

Receiver Adam Thielen said the game situation also played a role in the O-line’s struggles – namely that playing from behind benefitted the Panthers.

”When you have to pass it, the defense knows and they are teeing off,” Thielen said. “We have to put those guys in a better position by scoring fast and early, then the defense will not know if we are running or passing the ball.

It appears Elflein’s injury isn’t serious, but Reiff left in a walking boot and Remmers continues to battle a lower back injury.

Clearly the Vikings’ depth on offensive line has been much better than in 2016, but it appears that a shuffled second unit isn’t going to be able to hold up against a solid defensive line.

It was also made clear how much the Vikings’ offense relies upon their O-line. They did not have success in the play-action or screen game as they has so often throughout the year.

The post Vikings injuries on offensive line are cause for concern appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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