69 Days Until Vikings Football: Previewing Rashod Hill's 2020 Season

Will Ragatz

As we count down the days until the Vikings' opener against the Packers on September 13th, InsideTheVikings will be previewing every single player on the roster. The amount of days remaining corresponds with the jersey number of the player being examined on that day. Today is July 6th, and there are 69 days until kickoff for the 2020 regular season. That means our next player preview looks at the Vikings' swing tackle.

Countdown to Vikings-Packers on September 13th: 69 Days

Player Preview: Rashod Hill (No. 69, Offensive Tackle)

  • College: Southern Mississippi
  • Drafted: 2016 UDFA (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • NFL experience: Four years (2020 will be his fifth season)
  • Age: 28 (Birthday was in January)
  • Size: 6'6", 313
  • 2019 PFF Grade: 62.6

Depth is important at every position in the NFL, but it's particularly crucial on the offensive line. The big guys up front are colliding with defensive linemen on every single play, and they're at constant risk of a 300-pound man falling on their legs the wrong way or suffering any number of other injuries. That makes Rashod Hill a valuable part of the Vikings' offense, even if the 28-year-old is unlikely to ever become a long-term starter at this point in his career.

Hill has spent the majority of the last few seasons as the Vikings' swing tackle, meaning he's the primary backup at both left and right tackle. It's a difficult job, as he has to be ready to go in on either side at the drop of a hat and face off against dangerous pass rushers. Being able to play on both sides of the line requires fluidity in dropping into pass sets in two opposite ways. Going from the left side to the right – or vice-versa – is a transition that some tackles can really struggle with, which makes Hill's solid play on both sides plenty worthy of a roster spot.

A free agent entering this offseason, Hill was brought back by the Vikings on a one-year, $1.05 million deal. He'll likely continue to occupy that swing tackle role, though he could face competition from an intriguing young player. Oli Udoh, a sixth-round pick in 2019, probably offers more upside and could push for that job with a strong August. Aviante Collins and rookie Blake Brandel will also factor into the equation at the tackle position in training camp.

Hill grew up in Jacksonville, FL and was lightly recruited out of high school; 247Sports ranked him as a two-star recruit and the 109th-best offensive tackle in the class of 2011. He accepted an offer from Southern Mississippi, the alma mater of Brett Favre, and was a three-year starter for the Golden Eagles. During his redshirt senior year, Hill was named second team All-Conference USA. 

After going undrafted in 2016, Hill was signed as a college free agent by his hometown Jaguars. After impressing during the preseason, he earned a spot on their practice squad. That November, the Vikings swooped in and signed him to their active roster, and he's been in Minnesota ever since. Hill made his Vikings debut in Week 17 of his rookie year, playing well in place of T.J. Clemmings.

During the next two seasons, injuries caused Hill's name to be called for significant action. He started seven games in 2017, mostly replacing right tackle Mike Remmers. He then played every offensive snap at right tackle in the Vikings' two playoff games that year, with Remmers moving to guard after returning from injury. Hill opened the 2018 season as the Vikings' starting right tackle, then moved to the left side when Riley Reiff got hurt. But with rookie Brian O'Neill playing well, Hill was demoted back to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart when Reiff got healthy. He started eight games in total in 2018, which was his second consecutive season playing over half of the Vikings' offensive snaps.

In 2019, Reiff and O'Neill stayed mostly healthy, and Hill's playing time dropped dramatically as a result.

The scouting report on Hill is that he's a reliable pass protector who doesn't have the athleticism to thrive in the Vikings' outside zone running scheme. Last season, he received PFF's 17th-best pass-blocking grade out of 102 tackles with at least 100 offensive snaps, while his run-blocking grade was 84th. That has been a consistent trend throughout his career, and it's the main reason why the Vikings don't view him as a starting tackle in the NFL.

In 2020, it's possible that the more athletic Udoh pushes Hill for the swing tackle job. However, it's also in play that Udoh could compete for a starting role at guard. Either way, Hill's spot on the 53-man roster seems fairly safe, and he'll continue to provide important depth with his ability to win in pass protection reps on both sides of the line.

Vikings Offensive Tackles Preview: Will Ezra Cleveland Start as a Rookie?

Previous OL player previews:

You can find every single player preview to date – plus other offseason content – in this handy spreadsheet.

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