The Vikings were without Kevin Williams, but the trio of Rob Sims, Dominic Raiola and Larry Warford deserve some credit for the job they did yesterday. Pro Football Focus has already graded (subscription required) each player on every play and all three interior offensive linemen come out with positive grades. Sims (+0.9) and Raiola (+0.6) only marginally so, but Larry Warford’s +2.9 was only surpassed on offense by Matthew Stafford (+3.8), Reggie Bush (+3.3) and Joique Bell (+3.1).
Those ratings can be hard to put in context at times, so what is more important in this discussion, particularly in light of last year’s specific issue, is how their play impacted Stafford. PFF charts sacks, hits and hurries and identifies the responsible party. Sims and Warford come out clean while Raiola was tagged for only one quarterback hurry.
If the interior of the offensive line can continue keeping pressure out of Matthew Stafford’s face, we will be much more likely to see the 2011 Stafford than the inconsistent version we saw in 2012.