2023 Vikings Offensive Line Very Underappreciated Through 4 Weeks

Brian O'Neill
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings offensive line has been bad for so long that it’s possible many fans no longer know what good o-line play looks like. Kirk Cousins has hit the turf more than any other QB in the league (24 times) and the Vikings run game got off to a slow start in 2023.

Kirk Cousins pressure stats in 2023

But there is more to offensive line production than how often the QB takes a hit. Yes, Kirk leads the league in the amount of times he’s been knocked down.

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He also ranks 3rd, out of all starting quarterbacks, for time in the pocket (2.7 seconds), which tracks the amount of time, on average, that a QB spends between the ball being snapped and him passing or feeling pressure and 4th of all QB’s in the amount of blitzes he faces.

Kirk Cousins (MIN) 2.610241349
Jared Goff (DET) 2.4520835
Joe Burrow (CIN) 2.1820438
Patrick Mahomes II (KC) 2.42192223
Zach Wilson (NYJ) 2.510182040
Kenny Pickett (PIT) 2.411182025
C.J. Stroud (HOU) 2.211171839
Russell Wilson (DEN) 2.711151239
Joshua Dobbs (ARI) 2.4615441
Matthew Stafford (LAR) 2.59141050
Daniel Jones (NYG) 2.322141536

The eye test, at times, along with Kirk Cousins’ high pressure numbers, might tell us that the Vikings’ offensive line is struggling. A closer look, however, tells a different story. The o-line’s individual PFF grades are rather impressive, all things considered.

What are the PFF grades for Vikings offensive line?

PFF Grades
PlayerRun BlockPass BlockOverall
Austin Schlottmann62.871.664.7
Ed Ingram73.350.564.8
Ezra Cleveland65.575.569.2
Brian O’Neill90.375.281.2
Christian Darrisaw72.978.274.1
Team72.7 (4th)77.4 (2nd)

Vikings Offensive Line ranked near top of NFL

Ben Baldwin (Computer Cowboy on Twitter) put together a composite offensive line rating that uses the three most trusted sources in judging o-line performance, PFF (40%), SIS (40%) and ESPN pass/run block win rate (20%).

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Where do the Minnesota Vikings rank, according to the Computer Cowboy, you ask? Go ahead and rub your eyes, pinch yourself… whatever.

Through four weeks of the NFL season, the Vikings rank #6 in composite pass block rating and #6 in composite run block rating. Both are actually down from week 3, when the Vikings ranked #4 and #5 in the NFL, respectively.

If these offensive line rankings were based strictly on one of the three rating systems, Minnesota being ranked so high wouldn’t be as shocking. But to see them ranked in the top-6 for both run and bass block, in a composite rating like Baldwin’s is downright jarring.

Dare to hope…?

While I’m not here to enshrine the 2023 Minnesota Vikings offensive line into the Ring of Honor just yet, the positive development on the offensive line should give fans hope. Kirk Cousins leads the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns, Justin Jefferson in receiving yards. And now, the Computer Cowboy is telling me the offensive line is way better than average?

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If Dalton Risner can make the front-5 even better and Cam Akers brings a flash of lightning to the backfield, maybe…. just maybe…. the Vikings can perform a historic turnaround yet this season and make the 14-team playoff field.

Calm down, calm down… let’s just fix the chronic turnover issue and go from there.

More Minnesota Vikings offensive line statistics:

NFL Minnesota Vikings offensive line grades rankings 2023
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

How many sacks has the Minnesota Vikings offensive line allowed in 2023?

The Vikings offensive line has allowed 10 sacks through four games, 17th most in the NFL.

What is the Minnesota Vikings allowed sack percentage in 2023?

The Vikings offensive line has surrendered sacks on 6% of offensive plays in 2023, good for 15th best in the NFL.

How many QB pressures have the Vikings offensive line allowed?

The Minnesota Vikings have 52 total QB pressures allowed on the season (PFF).

How many times has the Minnesota Vikings offensive line allowed a QB hit?

Vikings offensive linemen have allowed 18 QB hits in 2023 (PFF)

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