The need isn’t as great, but the Vikings offensive line faces another potential reshaping this offseason.
In front is the unknown with Mike Remmers’ position. A year ago, Remmers was part two of the Vikings’ aggressive maneuvers to shore up the front five when he signed a five-year, $30 million contract with $10.5 million guaranteed at signing.
The Vikings may have spent that money on a guard for the 2018 season. Remmers, who made his first 52 NFL starts at tackle, has made his last three starts at guard, including both Vikings playoff games. He gave the team-first answer when asked about the possibility of staying at guard after his first start there during the Dec. 31 season finale win against the Bears.
“Whatever they need me to do,” Remmers said. “I just want to win.”
The Vikings coaching staff opted to keep Remmers at guard during both playoff games even after the return of center Pat Elflein freed up Joe Berger to return to his spot at right guard.
Whether or not Remmers stays there will be a matter of how Rick Spielman and the Vikings approach free agency and the draft.
“That will all be decided as we go,” Spielman said of Remmers during Super Bowl week. “Until we get together as a group and lay out the plan, and that could depend too on what direction we go in the draft or what direction we go in free agency. … I wouldn’t tell you guys the plan anyway, but right now a lot of things are etched in oatmeal.”
The Vikings may also have to deal with the retirement of Joe Berger, the 35-year-old linchpin who led the offense with 1,116 snaps this season. That is, if they can’t talk him out of it with some extra cash.
They should consider it, if not just to free up a pressing need at tackle.
The Vikings offensive line did not play very well in the postseason. Case Keenum was the most-pressured QB in the playoffs (41%), according to Pro Football Focus, with leaks led by the team’s top three tackles in Rashod Hill (14 pressures), Riley Reiff (8) and Remmers (7). Hill, Remmers’ fill-in at right tackle, regressed some against a strong Eagles pass rush when he allowed eight hurries (two hits) on Keenum in the NFC title game. And only nine of the Vikings’ 45 first downs happened on the ground.
A starter or two and the cupboard still need to be addressed. Spielman was aggressive in adding to the offensive line last year, and it could use another strong swing this offseason. There aren’t many heralded tackles set to hit free agency or the top of the 2018 NFL Draft, meaning aggression is again a word you should keep tied to the Vikings and acquiring offensive linemen.
“Last year with the offensive line, we didn’t think there was a lot of depth in the draft,” Spielman said. “So we were very aggressive to trade up to get Pat. But we were also aggressive in free agency, too.”