Note from the Author/”Moron” who wrote this: There seems to be some confusion by the people who only read headlines, the point of the piece is that not having Boone as a back-up to Easton could doom the Vikings in the playoffs. Not that losing Boone in the pre-season doomed a team that is going to end up 13-3. Thanks for the support either way, but I thought I’d add that because I just… Can’t.
Also. The point is that Boone is better than Sirles. That’s all. I get people dislike Boone for telling the crowd to “shut up”. But, See this link, and tell me a mediocre Boone wouldn’t be better than a nigh-terrible Sirles, who looked really bad against the Packers. I know Boone isn’t perfect, but again, it’s about him vs. Sirles and that’s really not even an argument. Most people arguing with me on FB are pointing out Boone’s flaws while ignoring the comparison to Sirles. I’m not arguing that Boone is Steve Hutchinson, just that when compared to Sirles, he might as well be.
Oh, and… http://www.1500espn.com/vikings-2/2017/01/10-vikings-pro-football-focus-grades-stand/
They say that the guard position is the least important position on the offense (with the right guard being the least important, followed by the left guard). The Vikings 2016 offensive line really only had one bright spot and that was left guard Alex Boone. Boone, who was a huge free agency pick-up for the Vikings before the 2016 season, stayed mostly healthy while those around him fell apart. However, that “mostly healthy” came back to bite him in the pre-season this year, as he was rarely on the field during training camp, which allowed other players (namely former center Nick Easton) to get ahead of him on the depth chart. Because of his relatively large contract and the fact that the combination of Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, and Riley Reiff played well together in pre-season action apparently made Boone expendable. Word was that he refused a paycut, but purplePTSD’s sources aren’t so sure…
Either that, or the Vikings approached Boone and asked him to take a pay-cut and to start the season as a backup. Perhaps Boone refused, as he does have an acerbic personality. Whatever happened, it seemed like an odd move as the Vikings spent the entire off-season attempting to develop depth on the offensive line and when it appeared that they had it, they cut the best lineman from the previous season? A player that they just brought in the year before via free agency? This move just didn’t make sense, especially when compared to other moves that the team has made, which means that something odd must’ve occurred (most likely that Boone asked to be released).
So, I’m not blaming the team, per se. I do think that the decision to demote Boone for Easton was a bad one, but maybe the team saw an opportunity to shed some of the money they invested in Boone, a player that was hurt and did miss game action in 2016 and that had a personality that perhaps didn’t vibe with the rest of the locker room. Again, whatever happened, it’s really unfortunate that the Vikings are now relying on Jeremiah Sirles at the left guard position as they enter the playoffs. Sirles struggled in 2016 and appeared to struggle just as much against the Packers as well. The Vikings attempted to run to the left side with Latavius Murray multiple times last Saturday night, and it appeared that Sirles was getting blown up by the Packers defensive line on multiple plays, allowing penetration and essentially ending run plays before they really had a chance to begin.
That’s scary for a team that has relied on its ground game to dictate the flow of the not only the offense but the entire game as well. While losing a guard isn’t the end of the world, typically, replacing Easton with Sirles is terrifying at this point in the season. While I’m known to overreact, this situation scares me. Luckily, though, the team does have some depth at the line position and they do have someone that could replace Sirles should he struggle against the Bears on Sunday. That person is Danny Isidora, who is technically the right guard’s (Joe Berger) back-up but can play on the left side as well.
The Vikings should play both on Sunday (especially if Sirles continues to struggle) to see which is the best fit at the position before entering the playoffs. Luckily, the Vikings basically have the second seed at this point and will have an extra week of practice to figure this out before playing in the first playoff game in US Bank Stadium history. Let’s hope that they do. Otherwise, we’ll all be looking back at the Boone situation as the moment that doomed the 2017 Vikings.