The Minnesota Vikings came up with a 24-16 victory at home over the Baltimore Ravens. What were the takeaways from the Week 7 showdown?
The Minnesota Vikings came up with their third straight victory against the Ravens in a dominating defensive performance at home. Although the defense crushed Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense for five sacks and 11 tackles for loss, the offense was efficient enough to set up kicker Kai Forbath with six field goal attempts, resulting in six makes.
The lone touchdown for Minnesota was off a 29-yard rush by Latavius Murray, who ran through a huge hole in the middle of the line on his way to the end zone. Forbath missed the extra point, but should be forgiven considering his six field goals for 18 points was the ultimate difference maker in the game.
By picking up another win, the Vikings move to 5-2 on the season and are in sole possession of first-place in the NFC North. Other than putting themselves in position to control their own destiny in the division, what else can we takeaway from the Vikings’ victory? Let’s take a look!
1. The offensive line was able to withstand injuries to Jeremiah Sirles and Riley Reiff with starting left guard Nick Easton already out. A positive sign concerning the evolution of the offensive line.
The Vikings offensive line has simply been phenomenal. Although Rick Spielman was criticized plenty with his free agent signings of Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, they’ve made a huge impact in transforming the state of the line.
In fact, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Remmers and Reiff are ranked 15th and 30th among offensive tackles, respectively, good enough for ‘average’ ratings. Yet, this is a stark improvement from Sirles and T.J. Clemmings, who PFF ranked 49th and 79th at tackle last season.
For Reiff, the results have been even sweeter.
This Tweet was posted prior to the Week 7 match with the Ravens, but considering the line gave up no sacks, this still holds true for the left tackle. More impressively, he made Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs a relative non-factor, giving up one hurry in 27 pass blocking snaps according to PFF.
While the pass blocking has been great as a whole, the line has also paved holes for the Vikings running backs. Finishing last in rushing in 2016, Minnesota is now ranked 12th and helped the Vikings run for 169 yards against Baltimore. Additionally, they blocked well with Rashod Hill and Danny Isidora replacing the injured Reiff and Sirles, who apparently went out with minor injuries.
Overall, this is a far better and deeper offensive line. Credit to Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer for making great offseason pickups and decisions to move on from Clemmings and former left guard Alex Boone. The results have undoubtedly paid off so far.