Scouting the Vikings schedule: Tackles

Who will the Vikings’ outside pass rushers be trying to get around in 2015? We take a game-by-game look at top offensive tackles they are scheduled to face next season.

Chicago Bears: Home and Away
Jermon Bushrod
Bushrod was the Bears’ starting left tackle Week 1 of the 2014 season, and after the first four weeks it seemed as though it was going to be a good season for him, but he suffered an injury and was forced to miss two weeks of play. Once he came back from the injury, he didn’t seem to be the same player he was at the start of the season. Bushrod finished the year receiving six negative ratings in the final 10 games of the season from Pro Football Focus, and finished the season with a -9.0 rating overall. He was credited with allowing five sacks, nine quarterback hits and 31 quarterback hurries.

Detroit Lions: Home and Away
Riley Reiff
After being considered to be one of the top offensive tackles in the 2012 draft – when he was a first-round draft pick – Reiff seems to be coming into his own. He was the highest-rated left tackle in the NFC North, according to PFF, with a 6.8 rating, credited with allowing two sacks, five quarterback hits and 27 quarterback hurries. Reiff is still a young player – he just finished his third year in the NFL – and will look to build off this past regular season.

Green Bay Packers: Home and Away
Bryan Bulaga
At the end of the 2014 regular season Bulaga was the top-rated offensive tackle in the NFC North and the fourth-highest rated right tackle in the NFL after receiving an 11.9 overall rating from PFF. He excelled in pass blocking and received a 10.8 pass-blocking rating, credited with allowing four quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and 20 quarterback hurries. This offseason Bulaga is a free agent, and at the age of 25 will draw a lot of interest, as he is a player that could hold down the right side of the offensive line for years to come.

Seattle Seahawks: Home
Russell Okung
With a running back like Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, it can make players on the offensive line look better than they might actually be. Lynch had a great season in 2014, but Okung still ended the season with a -3.5 rating from PFF in run blocking; he also struggled with penalties. Where he played well, though, was pass blocking as he finished the regular season being credited for allowing one sack, three quarterback hits and 18 quarterback hurries in 903 offensive snaps. Okung just finished his fifth season in the NFL after the Seahawks used the sixth pick of the 2010 draft to draft him out of Oklahoma State.

Arizona Cardinals: Away
Jared Veldheer
According to PFF, Veldheer was a top-10 offensive tackle at the end of the 2014 regular season because of his 16.5 overall rating. He managed to play in all 1,089 of the Cardinals’ offensive snaps and played well both in run blocking and pass blocking. At the end of the season Veldheer was given a 5.2 run-blocking rating and a 10.3 pass-blocking rating after being credited with allowing one sack, four quarterback hits and 20 quarterback hurries. Veldheer joined the Cardinals last offseason as a free agent after being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2010, and so far the Cardinals have to be happy with their investment.

St. Louis Rams: Home
Jake Long
Long started off the 2014 season well, being rated 3.7 by PFF after the first three weeks of the season, but that all changed after the Rams’ Week 4 bye. After the bye, Long struggled for four weeks and then had his 2014 season cut short in Week 8 when he suffered a season-ending injury. Before the injury, Long was credited with allowing three sacks, four quarterback hits and 13 quarterback hurries. He signed a four-year contract with the Rams during the 2013 offseason, after spending his first five years in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and still has two years to rebound from a down year.

San Francisco 49ers: Away
Joe Staley
Out of all the talented offensive tackles that the Vikings will have to face next season, Staley is the highest ranked after the 2014 season, as he finished the regular season with a 22.2 rating, making him the No. 4 tackle in the NFL. He just finished his eighth season with the 49ers after they drafted him in the first round out of Central Michigan in 2007. During the course of the 2014 season, Staley struggled with penalties from time to time, but he excelled with run blocking, given a 15.2 rating from PFF. He also played well in pass protection, receiving a 9.3 rating after being credited with allowing four sacks, three quarterback hits and 22 quarterback hurries. At the age of 30 he should be able to hold down the left side of the 49ers’ line for years to come.

Kansas City Chiefs: Home
Eric Fisher
In the 2013 NFL draft, the Chiefs drafted Fisher with the first overall pick out of Central Michigan and he has not yet lived up to his potential. At the end of the 2014 regular season he was given a -17.5 overall rating after struggling in most areas of his game. Pass blocking was a particular nemesis, as he received a -11.4 after being credited with allowing seven sacks, 11 quarterback hits and 24 quarterback hurries. Fisher has only been in the NFL for two seasons now, and at 24 years old he still has plenty of time to improve his game.

Denver Broncos: Away
Ryan Clady
The Broncos’ tackles struggled with inconsistent play and injuries throughout the 2014 regular season. Clady dealt with some injuries during the season that forced him to miss some snaps, but he was still able to start in all 16 regular season games at left tackle. At the end of the regular season, PFF had Clady rated -2.8 overall after he was credited with allowing two sacks, nine quarterback hits and 21 quarterback hurries.

San Diego Chargers: Home
King Dunlap
Dunlap had an overall good 2014 regular season and was rated 6.8 by PFF at the end of it. In total, Dunlap played in 1,080 offensive snaps for the Chargers during the regular season and was credited with allowing three sacks, five quarterback hits and 35 quarterback hurries. This offseason Dunlap is a free agent and will make a solid fill on the left side of the line for any team looking for a veteran tackle.

Oakland Raiders: Away
Donald Penn
There were a lot of negatives surrounding the Raiders during the 2014 season, but Penn was not one of them. During the course of the season he was given a negative rating by PFF just three times – two of which were better then -0.5. Penn finished the season with a 19.3 overall rating after being credited with allowing four sacks, three quarterback hits and 29 quarterback hurries. Last offseason Penn was a free agent and he was a good investment for Oakland, as he will be able to protect the blind side of Derek Carr – the Raiders rookie quarterback – for years to come.

New York Giants: Home
William Beatty
Beatty’s 1,141 offensive snaps were the third-most played by an offensive tackle and through all 16 games he finished the regular season with a 13.0 rating from PFF. He was credited with allowing three sacks, 10 quarterback hits and 19 quarterback hurries. He should continue to be a solid piece of the Giants offensive front in 2015.

Atlanta Falcons: Away
Ryan Schraeder
Schraeder may not have started the season as the starting right tackle, but he did finish the 2014 regular season at that position. He first joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2013, and after a good season in 2014 he may have earned a starting spot next season, especially considering the Falcons have four offensive tackles that are free agents this offseason. Last year, Schraeder was the highest rated tackle on the Falcons at 7.1. In 655 offensive snaps he was credited with allowing three sacks, two quarterback hits and 13 quarterback hurries.


Viking Update Top Stories