Assessing the Minnesota Vikings' Offensive Line Woes
The Minnesota Vikings are no stranger to having issues with their offensive line. After watching them fail to make the Super Bowl this year, I decided to take it upon myself to look at their line and find out what tweaks could be made to make this a Super Bowl-caliber group.
Starting LT Bryant McKinney, better known as Mt. McKinney, has a mirror image of himself on the opposite end of the line in starting RT Phil Loadholt. Both are mammoth men, standing at 6'8" and with weight so absurd, it's unknown. Neither of them is recognized for fancy footwork or speed, yet both are expected to play as if they have any kind of leverage. What is the No. 1 prerequisite for zone blocking? Speedy feet.
Steve Hutchinson (LG) plays with a well-known mean streak, driving his men into the ground and never letting anyone past him. Not this past season, though. "Hutch" is as pure as you can ask for in a "Man Drive Blocking Scheme." He's not a good "Read and React Zone Blocking" guard, and never will be.
John Sullivan (C) and Anthony Herrera (RG) get pushed around like rag dolls in the zone blocking scheme.
At what point do you look at these men and decide that it just isn't working, and that maybe Matt Birk, the All-Pro center and Harvard graduate, had a point?
Jamie Dukes, a long time starting center for arguably the best zone blocking scheme the NFL has ever seen in Denver and now an NFL Network analyst, commented on the Vikings' offensive line woes, saying, "They have those mammoth men dancing around back there on their heels."
Would Adrian Peterson have better success if the Vikings' coaching staff played to the strengths of their linemen, rather than expecting them to be effective zone blockers? I believe AP would have record-breaking seasons over and over again if he had a hole to run through.
It is my opinion that the Minnesota Vikings could have the best offensive line in the league with proper coaching and by running the man blocking scheme, one that would play to their strengths.
Instead of wasting talent and cap space the Vikings have on their offensive or replacing them all for better fitting zone blockers, maybe Minnesota should go back to what worked prior to the Chilly regime.
Zone blocking does not work with the personnel that the Minnesota Vikings have. From coach Brad Childress' mouth to your ears, it's like putting a "Round peg in a square hole."
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