Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Brandon Fusco had a 2015 season that he’d like to forget. The team tried moving him over to left guard in hopes of giving Matt Kalil a solid player to work with, but the season turned out to be one of the worst of his career.
The 2014 season wasn’t much better since he was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle following the team’s Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. So all in all, head coach Mike Zimmer hasn’t been able to see much good come out of Fusco since his arrival in Minnesota.
That all seemed to be changing this offseason, though, after the coaches decided it was best to move Fusco back to right guard.
“That’s probably the best that I’ve seen him look since I’ve been here,” Zimmer said. “Done a good job being physical, better in pass protection, so he’s looked a lot better.”
But the progress he’s made is going to have to be put on hold for awhile after Fusco suffered an injury during Friday’s practice. He had to sit out during the final portions of one-on-ones against the defensive line and was a non-participant during Saturday’s morning walk-through.
There doesn’t seem to be much concern surrounding the injury, as Fusco said “I’ll be fine.” and Zimmer said he isn’t expecting him to miss much time. “I don’t think he’ll be out very long,” Zimmer said
It’s always frustrating for players when they have to miss time during practice, especially when they were starting to get back into the groove of things. Fusco has looked a lot more comfortable this training camp than he did all of last season, and that shouldn’t change once he gets back.
Right guard is his more natural position, and he said he just couldn’t get comfortable on the left side and it kind of got into his head. He described the transition as trying to write with your non-dominant hand.
“I just never found a groove, maybe it was just a confidence issue thing - I was getting beat more than usual - and maybe, mentally, it got to me,” he explained. “Just never found a groove or got comfortable at all.”
Even though Fusco is back on the right side and feeling comfortable, there are still plenty of challenges he has to overcome this offseason. This injury is one, but another is the fact that there is a competition at both center and right tackle, so he has had players constantly changing on both sides of him.
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Communication and feeling comfortable with one another is always important for offensive linemen. That’s why Fusco admitted that the constant changing of things around him gets a little tiresome, though, he is happy it’s always the same people they’re switching in and out.
“It gets kind of frustrating,” he began, “but at the same time everyone on this offensive line is pretty good. They’ve got a lot of experience, so you’re not getting any dropoffs anywhere, with anyone. We’re all out here getting better each day and we’re just trying to find the best five.”
Zimmer has already said that Fusco is going to be held out of Saturday’s night practice, but the offensive lineman has said he’s already feeling better, so it shouldn’t be much longer until he is back on the field and practicing with his teammates.