When Pro Football Focus released the offensive line rankings and listed the San Francisco 49ers at 16 for 2018, it was a sign that things had improved exponentially. This line was having severe issues even when Jim Harbaugh was coaching.
Look down that list and there’s actually several lines worse than the 49ers now. But there was one team that caught my attention. The Minnesota Vikings at 28.
The 49ers will be playing the Vikings in Week 1 and while it will be a nice test for 49ers newly revamped offensive line, it’s also going to be a nice way to gauge their pass rush and defensive line at large. Now, Week 1 is a horrible time to make a statement for the entire season, especially when things are at their sloppiest. I don’t need to bring up Week 1 of 2015 where the Jim Tomsula-led 49ers dominated the Vikings in one of the worst football games I’ve ever watched.
Regardless of the Week 1 issue, this is still a nice way for us to see where the 49ers pass rush is. Perhaps we can get a good indication of where things stand when they go up against one of the worst offensive lines in the league. If the Vikings can contain them and keep them from generating pressure, it obviously isn’t going to be a good indication of the future.
The team has signed Cassius Marsh to an extension and neglected a dedicated edge rusher in the 2018 draft. Well, at least for this year with the drafting of Kentavius Street who is IRed for the season due to a knee injury. They signed Jeremiah Attaochu in the aftermath of Elvis Dumervil’s release, but the pass rush remains a huge question mark, especially at the edge.
Outside of the pass rush, it will also be interesting to see how the run defense performs. If the Vikings have a hard time getting any run yards, it can be passed off on offensive line issues, but if they run all over the 49ers, it may be the 49ers are going to be disappointing in that department.