Let’s Reid between the lines…
The Minnesota Vikings scouting staff found an absolute gem when they drafted Brian O’Neill back in 2018. The supposedly undersized right tackle has performed extremely well on Minnesota’s otherwise shaky offensive line, and this is no time to move him to the left side.
Draft picks outside of the first round are a crapshoot. Actually, all draft picks are ultimately a crapshoot. No matter the amount of research done by scouts, or a player’s college resume, NFL teams should be (and are) very happy when they find a bonafide starter straight out of college.
Whether it was a lucky break for the Vikings, or the culmination of a superb scouting effort, the Vikings stole Pitt product Brian O’Neill in the second round of the 2018 draft. He is without a doubt the most valuable piece of the Vikings offensive line, as he anchors the right side of the line with grace.
— Luke Braun (@LukeBraunNFL) August 12, 2020
In three years, O’Neill has allowed only four sacks. This past year, he played nearly 100% of the offensive snaps. And of course, he is rarely called for penalties thanks to his good technique.
As the Vikings ponder what this next year’s line should look like, many fans and analysts have suggested moving O’Neill to left tackle, which is said to be the more challenging and important tackle position. With Riley Reiff no longer in Minnesota, that position needs to be addressed.
These days, the notion of left tackle being more important is outdated and false. Premiere pass rushers attack from both sides of the line, and teams need to be able to protect their quarterback from both angles. Notice, the Vikings defense plays their best pass rusher, Danielle Hunter, against the right tackle.
It would be a high-risk low-reward gamble to move O’Neill. This is the epitome of a “don’t mess with perfection” situation. Moving O’Neill could mess with his mojo, as he has never played left tackle in the pros, and a move like this would also disrupt Minnesota’s right tackle position.
Whether it’s via the draft, free agency, or the current roster, the Vikings should find another left tackle and keep Brian O’Neill where he is.