The line of the day seemed to be that the offensive line has ‘come a long way.' That was the sentiment from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and guard Anthony Herrera.
There was some concern about the Vikings offensive line after Brett Favre
was sacked nine times in the first three games. However, that same line kept Favre from being sacked at all Monday night in a 30-23 victory over the Packers at the Metrodome.
Part of the issue is that the members of the line are developing continuity, with second-year center John Sullivan
having stepped in for Matt Birk
and rookie Phil Loadholt
having taken over at right tackle.
"I think (the line is) progressing well," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "There are still a lot of things that we can clean up, whether it is pass protection, whether it's run game, landmarks, targets, techniques. But I think that they have come a long way. They are doing a nice job."
Members of the line remain far from satisfied with their performance, but they also realize this is a work in progress and the season is only at the quarter pole. The fact the Vikings are 4-0 heading into Sunday's game at St. Louis certainly helps.
"I would say we've come a long way but we're still not there yet," right guard Anthony Herrera
said. "We're probably at about 80 percent right now as far as gelling. You really don't want to peak until later on in the season, and I think we're doing a good job of getting better every week and we're going to be all right."
The Vikings gave up four sacks in their first game at Cleveland and have since cut that to three against Detroit, two against San Francisco and zero against Green Bay.
"I think we played a lot better (against the Packers)," Sullivan said. "We've always had the potential to play like that, and we just executed better than we had before. That's due in part to our offense and the way the running backs and receivers and Brett and the tight ends and the offensive line played together and the schemes that our coaches had there for us. It was a good job across the board."
QB Brett Favre was limited in practice Thursday because of a sore ankle, foot and knee. He will play Sunday in St. Louis.
LG Steve Hutchinson was able to take part in practice on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out Wednesday because of a back issue. Hutchinson missed two practices last week and participated in only a part of another but was able to play Monday night against Green Bay.
WR Darius Reynaud, who missed Monday's game because of a hamstring injury, has missed both days of practice this week while he tends to a personal issue. He isn't expected to play Sunday. Reynaud averaged 17.3 yards on punt returns in the first three games this season. WR Jaymar Johnson has assumed punt-return duties.
DE Ray Edwards was limited in practice Thursday because of a hamstring injury suffered Monday night. Edwards did not practice Wednesday.
LB Erin Henderson was limited because of a calf injury suffered in the final preseason game. Henderson had been out of practice until last week, and it's not certain when he will return to action.
CB Cedric Griffin was limited because of a hand injury Wednesday and Thursday. Griffin also was limited last week but played Monday. He should be ready to go Sunday.
RT Phil Loadholt was limited in practice Thursday because of an ankle injury. Loadholt also dealt with an ankle issue in training camp.