Yes, rotating offensive tackle Jake Long in on eight days practice didn’t help and right tackle Jeremiah Sirles struggled at times, but so did the running backs. Sam Bradford was sacked six times and pressured many more times.
“Overall, we’ve just got to work on it. We’ve got to get better every day. With pass protection, we’ve got to protect Sam and let him do his thing,” running back Matt Asiata said. “It’s not just one back. It’s not just the running backs. It’s everybody not good enough.”
While teams rarely divulge who is responsible for every sack, it appeared Asiata was responsible for at least a half a sack on Sunday against a determined Philadelphia Eagles defense.
The Eagles brought blitzes from different angles and stunts (essentially defensive line picks) that sometimes confused and sometimes overpowered the Vikings’ pass protection.
“They were just trying to pressure and give Sam a hard time to throw,” Asiata said.
In addition to the sacks, hits and pressures, Bradford fumbled the ball three times, losing it twice, and threw his first interception of the season.
The Vikings tried to work in Jake Long, and did so for 13 snaps, but whether it was physical mistakes or just being uncertain of which pass rusher he was responsible for on certain plays, either way it was clear it wasn’t a good game for him. He was credited with giving up two of the strip sacks that led to turnovers.
But trying to add Long, who took ownership of his struggles, likely created addition complications with communication between him and other pass protectors, whether it be other tight ends, running backs or other offensive linemen.
“It’s just something we have to talk over during halftime or when you’re out there,” Asiata said. “We just have to read and do our best to pick up blitzes. I give it up to Philadelphia. They disguised it well. They brought new pressures to us and we’ve just got to capitalize on it.”
Despite that, Asiata doesn’t buy the theory that says Philadelphia created a blueprint for how other defenses should attack the Vikings offense, or Bradford in particular.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “We’ve just got to pick it up and move onto the next one and, Chicago, here we come.”
Zimmer said on Monday that the players would see changes in the team’s approach this week, but he didn’t get into specifics.
Asiata said he didn’t notice any changes on Tuesday.
“Zimmer was just Zimmer,” he said. “It’s tough love. He hates us, then loves us; loves us, then hates us. We respect Zimmer to the fullest and we’re just going to respond.”null