Vikings’ offensive line struggled vs. Bills, but too early to judge

By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — It might not be fair to judge the Vikings’ offensive line until Riley Reiff returns, but Mike Remmers is not making any excuses.
Minnesota was shaky on the line in Thursday, Aug. 10’s 17-10 win at Buffalo in the preseason opener. Remmers, the right tackle, allowed a sack. So did Rashod Hill, the left tackle starting in place of Reiff.
“It doesn’t matter (that Reiff was out),” Remmers said. “We still should have gone out there and done a lot better than we did.”
Reiff, who signed a five-year, $58.75 million contract as a free agent in March, suffered a back injury and missed a week and a half of practice before returning Monday. But he wasn’t ready to play Thursday.
Minnesota’s other key offseason line acquisition was Remmers, who signed a five-year, $30 million deal. He allowed Bills defensive end Eddie Yarbrough to blow by him on the first series and sack Sam Bradford for a loss of 6 yards.
“Just technique on my part, but it’s something I’m going to learn from,” Remmers said.
On Minnesota’s second series, Hill was beaten by defensive end Jerry Hughes, and Bradford was sacked for a loss of 7.
“Just got beat, man,” Hill said. “I went out too far and with my hands too low.”
The Vikings last year were devastated by injuries on the line, going through five left tackles. But even healthy players weren’t very effective, which is why the Vikings spent a combined $88 million on Reiff and Remmers.
Holdovers on the line are Alex Boone, who remains at left guard, and Joe Berger, who is the right guard after mostly being the starting center last year. NIck Easton took over at center for the final five games last season and remains in the spot.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the sacks on Bradford were “disappointing.” So was the first-team offense in three series managing just one first down and 34 total yards.
“Obviously, we don’t feel very good about that,” Remmers said. “It’s not good enough. And we’re going to work really hard to fix it and make the corrections needed.”
Bradford completed 5 of 7 passes but managed just 35 yards. His didn’t complete a pass longer than 9 yards.
“I felt like we never got into a rhythm,” he said.
In addition to being sacked twice, Bradford was under pressure on several other occasions. He was asked if it is fair to judge the line with Reiff out.
“I think (Thursday) was a pretty small sample size,” Bradford said. “Obviously, our goal was to come out, move the ball and score points. We didn’t score points. Obviously, that’s a little bit frustrating.”
At least Reiff looks close to returning for the Vikings, who next play Friday at Seattle.