Hasan offers potential Vikings lineup changes going forward
With the Vikings sitting at 1-5 heading into their bye week, Minnesota’s playoff chances are slim.
Arif Hasan of The Athletic recently looked at what the team could focus on in the final 10 games of 2020, and offered up some potential lineup changes going forward.
Hasan wrote that promising young players such as Armon Watts and D.J. Wonnum should get more playing time, and he advocated for practice squad players such as Jake Browning, Nate Stanley, Alexander Hollins and Brandon Dillon to be called up to the 53-man roster.
But Hasan’s most notable suggestion was to shuffle up the offensive line, and start rookie Ezra Cleveland at left tackle while shifting Riley Reiff to guard.
The entire offensive line might need to be reshuffled, but the next-best move is to put Cleveland at left tackle. Riley Reiff might be having the best year of his career, especially as a pass protector, but without other pieces of the offense working, that’s not worth much. His elite pass protection capability — at least this year — might be put to use on the inside while Cleveland auditions for his true job for the future: left tackle.
Cleveland, whose play at left tackle for Boise State led to his selection in the second round by the Vikings, worked almost exclusively at left guard during training camp. Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that the Vikings opted to move the rookie to right guard to avoid changing more than one position on the offensive line.
If the Vikings want to set themselves up for 2021, they might as well find opportunities to see if Cleveland can continue to grow and develop at the position they drafted him to play, while also seeing if Reiff can play guard.
Cleveland was a two-time First-Team All-Mountain West selection at left tackle at Boise State.
Hasan’s full list of potential changes can be found here.