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The Often Overbearing, But Otherwise Ordinary Offensive Line


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While I’m not expecting much turnover with the coaching staff, I think they need to find a new offensive line coach. 

Generally, I’ve felt that that continuous change along the offensive coaching staff has been a big reason as to why the o-line has struggled to form into a solid unit. So, I’m a bit surprised that I’m writing this. 

But one thing that I keep seeing is missed assignments. It’s one thing for a guy to get beat either because the other guy is stronger or faster. But it’s another thing to see a guy get beat because he’s not in the right spot, or he blocks the wrong guy. And we’re still seeing that in week 14. By vets who’ve been in this offense for a couple years. And I place that blame squarely at the feet of the o-line coach, Rick Dennison. 

I’m not necessarily interested in firing Dennison. I think he’s done a wonderful job as the run game coordinator. But I really do question his ability to teach the scheme. 

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The most important thing for the offensive line, in my opinion, is to not make too many moves. 

They always seem to be trying to shuffle a player, or two, from one position to another. LEAVE THEM ALONE! Keep Riley Reiff at left tackle. Honestly, give him a 1-2 year extension with some guaranteed money. He’s earned it, and you may even be able to get his cap number lowered a bit for 2021. Leave O’Neill at RT. And leave Cleveland at RG.

The second most important thing is to find a true left guard. Someone with some true size and strength, and ideally someone with a “throat punch” mentality.

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Bradbury has been a disappointment through his first two years. He showed improvement this year, but where he is at is still a huge disappointment IMO. When you draft a center in the first round he should quickly become one of the best centers in the league. When he doesn't, he wasn't worth the first round pick and it is a big disappointment. Does this mean he can't start for the Vikings next year? No, that is not what I am saying. However, the team can't count on him being a key piece on the line until he shows more. If he doesn't continue to improve the team will need to find someone that can provide a higher level of play.

I do not know if Cleveland is an answer at one of the guard positions, but he showed enough this year that the Vikings do not have to sign a free agent to replace him. The team should sign a journeyman veteran to back him up. Dozier is definitely not an answer at LG. If he comes back on a backup contract that is fine. Maybe he can even be the journeyman vet behind Cleveland.

Reiff was again fine. He isn't anything special but he holds the LT position adequately. If Reiff were the worst offensive line player on a team that team would have a good offensive line IMO. It is always a good thing if the team can upgrade, but Reiff is solid enough that I don't see upgrading LT to be a huge priority.

O'Neill should be the largest priority extension for the Vikings this offseason. He is a top 10 RT in the league. The Vikings, under Spielman, have traditionally waited until after free agency and into training camp to extend players under contract. Fans like me are going to have to endure another season of Spielman so we should be looking for a huge extension for O'Neill sometime after training camp and before the start of the season.

This leaves the team with three question marks going into next year and one older veteran (Reiff) that the team needs to be considering a replacement for after 2021. That is a tall order for one offseason; with Rick Spielman as general manager it is almost an impossibility that the line is corrected going into next season. That is a shame for the Vikings when they will have Kirk Cousins as the QB.  A real shame. What a waste. Hopefully the new general manager, whenever the Wilf's move on from Spielman, will be able to build a better offensive line. 

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On 12/30/2020 at 4:26 PM, SteelKing728 said:

He might miss out on his bonus.

I believe he did. I just posted in the game thread that the Vikings had 80 offensive snaps. Came here looking to find the info on how much that cost Reiff. Based on what you posted here, it was $1M dollars.

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Given what Reiff did for the team in terms of his pay cut, and his level of play this year, that’s a bonus I’d go to the Wilfs and ask them to pay him. 

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13 minutes ago, RpMc said:

Given what Reiff did for the team in terms of his pay cut, and his level of play this year, that’s a bonus I’d go to the Wilfs and ask them to pay him. 

And if I can recall, they have done similar things for other players, so I imagine he still will get it.  I don't think he'll have to ask.

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49 minutes ago, swede700 said:

And if I can recall, they have done similar things for other players, so I imagine he still will get it.  I don't think he'll have to ask.

Not saying Reiff should ask, I was speaking from the perspective of the football ops guys like Spielman.

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I think whether or not Reiff gets his $2M bonus will be a good indication as to where the team sees Reiff moving forward. If he gets it, I’d think that there’s a strong possibility that the team wants him back. If they don’t, then it’s likely they plan to move on without him. 

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