Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has always been one to say it like it is, and I've appreciated him for that in the past year and a half. However, last week he told reporters that he had no concerns at all about the offensive line.
That may be the first time I've heard him glossing over a real issue. With center John Sullivan out for at least two months and tackle Phil Loadholt out for the season, this means that journeyman Joe Berger will play at center and rookie fourth round draft pick T.J. Clemmings playing right tackle in place of the injured Phil Loadholt, not being concerned doesn't sound genuine. These situations, along with guard Brandon Fusco playing on the left side of the line for the first time in his career after three years on the right side, and Mike Harris, a tackle for his entire career, playing right guard for the first time, really would give any coach cause for concern. Sullivan and Loadholt were average players to begin with, so their replacements are undoubtedly a step down.
The offensive line may be the most important group on a football team. You have to protect your quarterback when he's passing and open holes for your running backs. Switching players around and having rookies fill in is risky.
Hopefully the Vikings' opponents this season won't have stellar defensive lines, otherwise this team might be looking at another losing season.