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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings offensive line adapts to playing short-handed in win over Bears

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings entered Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears in a tough spot on the offensive line. With Nick Easton out for the year and Pat Elflein dinged up, guard Joe Berger and tackle Mike Remmers were forced to play different positions than they’ve played all year.

Running back Latavius Murray had no complaints about the effort of the shuffled O-line.

“Pat out, Nick going down last week, I think it just shows how tough they are,” Murray said. “How they’ve been able to come in and step up and not miss a beat. You have to give them a lot of credit. It feels like every other week or so they’re kind of moving around up front. Joe had to play center today. Those guys don’t complain one bit about anything. They just go to work.”

Murray pounded the ball routinely throughout the 23-10 win, picking up 111 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. With his second touchdown, Murray entered a tie for second place in the NFL in touchdown runs over the past two seasons.

Add Jerick McKinnon’s yards to the mix and the Vikings gained 155 yards total on the ground.

Still Berger was not thrilled with his own performance in a pinch.

“Without looking at it I would say we did all right,” he said. “Ithink there’s lots of room for improvements from all of us. Unfortunately, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that because hopefully we’re going to be able to slide back to our positions. I think there’s room to improve.

”For me, I can speak on for sure. I didn’t play center as well as I have in the past,” Berger added.

While Berger may not have been thrilled, head coach Mike Zimmer came away pleased with his offensive line’s performance.

“They were coming with a lot of zero blitzes, so they had some extra guys they were bringing on the pass rush, but I thought we did a good job of knocking them off the ball, creating seams and being able to get in there,” ZImmer said.

The Vikings appear likely to get Elflein back for playoff time. That will still leave them with some options up front. They could choose to stick with Jeremiah Sirles at left guard to fill Easton’s spot or have Berger move to the left and have Remmers start and guard and Rashod Hill at tackle.

“We’ve been battling for a while now so to have us an extra bye week here at the end before we go into the playoffs,” Berger said. “It’s great physically and mentally to kind of have some time to step away and just get the mind fresh and focused for the playoffs.”

The ability to adapt to changes on the offensive line is one of the many differences between the 2016 and 2017 version of the Vikings, who lost both starting tackles and saw their running game disappear and quarterback forced to rely on only short passes.

The post Vikings offensive line adapts to playing short-handed in win over Bears appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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