MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — After the disaster that was the Vikings’ offensive line last season, addressing it was their biggest offseason priority. But their biggest offseason signing, starting left tackle Riley Reiff, still has yet to return to practice after being sidelined with an undisclosed injury on Day 1.
Coach Mike Zimmer said it isn’t serious, but also said that he has “no idea” when Reiff might return.
It’s certainly not time to panic yet, but it’s absolutely cause for concern.
It shines a light on a concerning truth: It’s a big question mark whether this team did enough in the offseason to address its issues at tackle.
In the event of an injury to free agent additions Reiff — at left tackle, or Mike Remmers — at right tackle, Minnesota will be relying on a player in Rashod Hill who spent most of last season on Jacksonville’s practice squad, before being signed by the Vikings on Nov. 15.
Nothing against Hill, but expecting a player to go from practice squad to starter in less than a year is an awfully big ask.
Hill is the top backup at both left and right tackle, with Jeremiah Sirles behind him. The Vikings did not take a single tackle in the draft.
And asking Mike Zimmer to have success with such shallow depth at the position is asking for trouble.
When asked how he felt about his depth at tackle, Zimmer’s answer said it all.
“Well,” he said, “We need to stay healthy, I think.”
But assuming the Vikings do stay healthy also assumes Reiff and Remmers are the answer. They weren’t exactly the hottest commodities on the market this offseason, with their previous teams seemingly content to let them walk.
In a perfect world, this is all just preseason speculation. But a critic might also say this has the potential to be a disastrous repeat of last season.