Minnesota changed up its offensive line from 2020, but if the 2021 regular season opener is any indication, that unit may have taken a step back.
The Vikings had 17 total penalties, 12 of which were accepted. Much of the blame can be placed on the offensive line for holdings and false starts.
Minnesota averaged just 3 yards per carry on the ground. And Kirk Cousins was sacked five times and hit seven times.
Minnesota released left tackle Riley Reiff this offseason. Reiff was arguably one of the better offensive linemen on the team, but the Vikings were strapped for cash. So Minnesota elected to use its first-round draft choice on OT Christian Darrisaw, a player who has been ruled out for the second consecutive week.
Oh yeah, and the Cardinals defensive line is almost certainly better than the Bengals’ group. Minnesota gets a real test this week against a tough Arizona team.
The Cardinals have edge rusher Chandler Jones, who is coming off a five-sack game in the season opener. A good game from Rashod Hill could secure him a starting position for longer. A bad performance might lead the Vikings to making a change as soon as Darrisaw gets fully healthy and acclimated.
If the Vikings double Jones, Oli Udoh may be all alone up against J.J. Watt. Watt’s production has slowed down in recent years, but he’s still the kind of player who can get to the quarterback. Udoh earned the Vikings’ starting right guard spot through a good training camp and preseason. He has a chance to rationalize that decision on Sunday.
Minnesota has to perform better than it did against Cincinnati. Or else, the Vikings could be in a big hole. Can Kirk Cousins have enough time to throw? Will Dalvin Cook have holes to run through? It starts with the offensive line. They’ll have one of their biggest tests of the season in Week 2.
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