Over the offseason, Korey Stringer has been working hard on improving his footwork, despite being viewed as one of the best offensive linemen in the game. But, like a running back that needs to be a rusher and receiver, offensive linemen have two jobs -- run blocking and pass protecting. When it comes to run blocking, there is little doubt that the Vikings were among the best, especially when Robert Smith was running outside. However, pass protection was another story and Stringer was the primary culprit.
By using statistics that compared all of the NFL's starting offensive linemen, the Vikings were middle of the road when it came to allowing sacks -- letting opposing players get to Daunte Culpepper 31 times. However, of those 31, 11 of them were blamed on Stringer, by official NFL stats.
The best of the group was center Matt Birk. His 2.5 sacks allowed was better than 20 centers in the NFL and worse than just nine. Dave Dixon allowed four sacks, which was better than 16 right guards and worse than 10 others. Todd Steussie's seven sacks allowed was better than 13 other left tackles but worse than 16.
The rest got considerably worse. Did the Vikes miss Randall McDaniel? It would appear so. Corbin Lacina and Chris Liewinski allowed 6.5 sacks, better than just five left guards and worse than 19 others. But Stringer was king. He allowed 11 sacks -- worse than 27 other right tackles in the NFL and better than just three.
So if you wonder why a veteran has spent so much of this offseason working on his technique, maybe you know the answer now. If the Vikings offense is going to click, Stringer will have to improve on those numbers.
Stringer Working to Move Up
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