Struggling O-line wants to improve under Shurmur

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--On his first day as interim offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur made a point Wednesday of rallying around the Vikings' struggling offensive linemen.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-On his first day as interim offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur made a point Wednesday of rallying around the Vikings' struggling offensive linemen.

"He came up to us and said he believes in us and you just can't hear the noise outside of the building," guard Brandon Fusco said after practice.

Shurmur replaces Norv Turner, who surprised the Vikings with his sudden resignation. Shurmur is in his first season with the team after Mike Zimmer named him tight ends coach in January.

Shurmur takes over an injury-riddled offense that has had major problems on the line. The Vikings (5-2) have allowed 19 sacks this season, 11 in the past two games in back-to-back losses at Philadelphia and Chicago. Minnesota ranks 31st in the NFL in total offense (293.3 yards per game) and rushing offense (71.9).

"We've got to win the one-on-one battles, especially me," Fusco said. "I'm calling myself out. I didn't play well enough on Monday night (in the 20-10 loss to the Bears), and I know a lot of guys say the same thing about themselves. ... I think I physically just got beat. I got ran over a couple of times. That's not me."


Fusco hardly was the only lineman to struggle Monday. Right tackle T.J. Clemmings had a disastrous outing, and recently signed left tackle Jake Long still has plenty of room for improvement after making his first start.

When Long was inserted into the lineup, Clemmings was moved from left tackle to right, sending Jeremiah Sirles to the bench. Zimmer said he will "have to see as the week goes" whether Sirles could be put back in the lineup in place of Clemmings.

"We just got to keep improving," Long said. "We do some good things and then we do some bad things. We've got to be more consistent and keep Sam upright more, and we will. We have a great group of guys, we work hard, and we've just got to keep correcting our mistakes."

Minnesota's running game has been without Adrian Peterson, who is out at least until December after a Week 2 knee injury. Sharing the load have been Jerick McKinnon (217 yards this season) and Matt Asiata (200), both of whom are averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.

"I've got to hit a big one," McKinnon said. "That's all I'm really focused on is making a play for the team, creating a spark."

Injury report

Three Vikings players are in the NFL's concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday as injuries continue piling up for the struggling team.

Left guard Alex Boone, linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive tackle Tom Johnson were sidelined as Minnesota started preparing to host the Detroit Lions on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.


Guard Zac Kerin (hand), McKinnon (ankle) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) also did not practice. McKinnon missed Monday's game at Chicago, but expects to play against the Lions.

"I'm getting better and I'm looking forward to playing Sunday,'' McKinnon said.

Safety Andrew Sendejo (ankle), linebacker Anthony Barr (groin), punt returner Marcus Sherels (wrist), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (wrist) and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (foot) were limited.

Munnerlyn has not missed a game in five years and vowed Wednesday to keep that streak alive. He expects to play against Detroit after suffering a fourth-quarter foot injury at Chicago.

X-rays at Soldier Field were "great news," he said with a coy grin. "I'm good. I'm a warrior. I'll be all right."

Munnerlyn said he injured himself running up field late in the game and would have returned to play had it happened earlier in the night.

"For sure. Nothing's going to stop me from going out there playing football so definitely would have went back there," he said.

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