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Bleacher Report – Vikings

If Reiff can’t go, how will Vikings align their O-line?

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings may be without starting left tackle Riley Reiff when they face off with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football.

Reiff missed practice on Tuesday with a foot injury, which means he could miss the Vikings key early-season matchup.

In the first two games, the former Lion was solid but he struggled mightily against Buffalo in Week 3. It now appears probable at least some percentage of his 12 pressures allowed last Sunday can be attributed to the injury.

Replacing Reiff for Thursday night’s game could be as simple as placing second-round pick Brian O’Neill into his spot and carrying on with the usual starters at every other position. That would mean playing Tom Compton at left guard, Pat Elflein at center (Mike Zimmer announced he will start), Mike Remmers at right guard and Rashod Hill at right tackle.

But that’s hardly the only combination up front that’s possible. Hill filled in for Reiff in camp in 2017 and briefly last season. He could move to the left side and have O’Neill take his place at right tackle. The Vikings could also push Mike Remmers back into a tackle role either on the left or right side. That would mean having Brett Jones or Danny Isidora start at right guard.

O’Neill has allowed five pressures in 73 pass blocking snaps in off-the-bench duty, per Pro Football Focus. Though Remmers was not credited with a single sack allowed last year at RT.

One major factor in the decision could be the strength of the Rams’ interior defensive line. Head coach Sean McVay rightly dubbed defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh a “nightmare” for opposing offenses. It would make sense for the Vikings to keep Remmers inside to do battle with the monsters in the middle.

“Their front guys, obviously [Aaron] Donald and Suh and [Michael] Brockers, they’re get-going, up the field guys,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “Suh is explosive, powerful to get to the spot on the quarterback, and then Donald is quick side-to-side and then uses power to get to it.”

The Vikings’ guards and center took on elite DT DeForest Bucker in Week 1 and the Mike Daniels/Kenny Clark combo in Week 2. They didn’t create much run push but effectively protected the quarterback for stretches in both games, giving up 13 total pressures from the inside according to Pro Football Focus. That was without Elflein in the lineup.

Whichever combination the Vikings choose up front will need to have a bounce-back day from last weekend’s poor showing against Buffalo, especially in a game that could ultimately swing the direction of the Vikings’ season.

The post If Reiff can’t go, how will Vikings align their O-line? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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