December 13, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) threw a pass while defending Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (93) in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Compulsory Credit: Kim Clement-USA Today Sports
Many different teams have won championships in the NFL. A solid quarterback game combined with a great defense, elite offense and average defense, no formula guarantees a super bowl. However, a formula makes it seemingly impossible to win a big game, and the Vikings have followed that exact formula for a long time.
In 2020 and 2021, the defense was not competing. Mike Zimmer, however, had some excellent defense from the Vikings. In 2019, the franchise had a good offense and a good defense. 2019 Stefanowski wins the title of worst offense featuring one. Bad defeats compared to 2019 have also won the Vikings League. So what was the difference between the Super Bowl champions and the Vikings in recent years?
Super Bowl teams need a Super Bowl offensive line
If we look at the recent champions, they all had one thing in common – the elite offensive line. According to the PFF, McVeigh’s Rams offensive line was the seventh-best in the NFL. The Vikings, meanwhile, were 23rd. The PFF has come to the same conclusion as Vikings fans over the years.
“O’Neill was the only Vikings lineman to play a snap this season with a pass-blocking grade above 65.0, and that’s where Minnesota needs to be the biggest field to improve.“
PFF about the Vikings offensive line
A recipe for inadequate pass protection disaster for a pocket passer. According to ESPN’s Team Pass Block win rate, the Rams were the best team to defend their quarterback 68%, while the Vikings were among the worst. The 54% win rate was good enough for 25th place. The Bengals were worse than the Vikings, and that is why they lost the last game of the season against the Rams. Aaron Donald is not ideal against a bad pass blocking line.
The 2021 season was not just an isolated season with these national figures. The same thing happened in previous years.
Tom Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they immediately won the Super Bowl. The team was stacked, and the offensive line was no different. For every PFF, the line is in fifth place. Brady was sensitive, especially to the internal pressures of his career, and probably considered the state of the offensive line of the plaintiffs during the free agency. Minnesota, meanwhile, ranks 26th. Once again, the quality of the offensive line is vastly different. The PFF’s comments on the Vikings issue sound like 2021, which is really worrying that the front office has not done enough to fix it.
“The offensive line has been a problem in Minnesota for more than a year now and it remains one after the 2020 season where they were graded out as the 28th best pass-blocking offensive line in the NFL. Again, this was the inside of the offensive line where most of the problems popped up.“
PFF about the Vikings offensive line after the 2020 season
Patrick Mahoms and his chiffra lost to the Big Game in a big game. Mahomes has been running for his life. The reason was not that it was a bad line. Because multiple starters missed the game. In the regular season, the PFF ranked the line as the 11th best in the league. Mahoms has played behind some excellent units so far in his young career, just as in 2019, when the team won a championship.
The Chiefs lost to the 49ers in the Super Bowl. The PFF Chiefs are 16th and the Vikings are 19th. The Vikings had an offensive line that was not in the bottom quarter of the list and immediately won a playoff game. This is something to remember for the upcoming season.
The difference of the chiefs, however, seems to be smaller than this, especially in pass protection. The Chiefs had a good pass blocking line and they fought in the running game, while the Vikings were clearly good at run blocking for Dalvin Cook and fought against the crowd of passes. The NFC Champion 49ers, who beat the Vikings in the divisional round and then lost their first Super Bowl to Patrick Mahoms, finished 14th, although they lost to elite left tackle Joe Staley for most of the season.
In 2018, the Patriots won the Super Bowl. The PFF ranked their unit fourth in the NFL because they knew how to keep Brady safe. Across the line, the Patriots had excellent linemen.
“Another year, another well-oiled machine blocking in New England. Shaq Mason finished the season as the PFF’s all-pro right guard and all five starters were among the league’s top-75 offensive linemen.“
PFF about the Patriots offensive line in 2018
The Vikings are already in 29th place and have made some devastating comments about the PFF unit.
“Outside of left tackle, Riley Reef – who has done some ugly outings of his own, especially Buffalo – has not had a single offensive lineman in the Vikings this season, including a top-80 grade. Their interior was easily one of the worst in the league. Tom Compton, Pat Elflin and Mike Remers combined to drop 18 sacks.“
PFF about the Vikings offensive line in 2018
The champion Patriots had five starters in the top-75 offensive lineman, while the Vikings had one in the top-80. Rams, who lost to the Patriots, is in 6th place.
2017 – The Vikings lose against the Eagles’ great line
2017 gave the Vikings fans an exciting season that ended in a catastrophe when the team played against the Philadelphia Eagles, the future Super Bowl champions, in the NFC Championship game. The title game features perhaps the best offensive line matchup in recent Super Bowl history.
The Patriots were third in the PFF rankings and were not the best unit in the final game of the NFL season, as the Eagles took first place. Not surprisingly, the Eagles had a real shootout of offense 41-33 at US Bank Stadium. Rush could not go to the quarterback until Graham had a strip-sack against Brady and decided to play that way. The Vikings’ offensive line was 22nd that season.
The Vikings struggle despite the investment
Former general manager Rick Spielman invested heavily in the offensive line. In 2017, he signed Riley Reef and Mike Remars to Free Agency and selected Pat Elflain in the third round. In 2018, Brian O’Neill picked the second round, then in 2019 the first round was Garrett Bradbury. Ezra Cleveland was selected in the second round in 2020 and Christian Darris and Watt Davis in early 2021. Either talent assessment or coaching didn’t work, maybe both.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Kirk continues the trend of investing heavily in protecting cousins, hopefully with more success. Ed Ingram, second-round pick, Jesse Davis, Austin Schultman and Chris Reedra are new additions to the team in an effort to fix the problematic part. All Super Bowl teams have different strengths and weaknesses, but they all have a good offensive line. To be successful in the NFL and to be the first Super Bowl champion in franchise history, the Vikings have to fix that in the end.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who has a myth of numbers and statistics. Despite Christian Ponder being a quarterback at the time, he chose the Vikings as his favorite team. He has a walking football encyclopedia and his favorite music genre of classic rock. Arguing about the Vikings on Twitter is one of his favorite things. If you like Vikings, follow him on Twitter: িকJanicEcard