OffseasonOpinion

I know it’s only day #3 but for goodness sakes…WHY IS CHRISTIAN DARRISAW WITH THE TWOS?!

OTAs or not, why are the Vikings not getting their high picks more top-flight reps?

As we get started, please understand something with me. I’m not dumb…there are reasons that the coaching staff of the Minnesota Vikings get paid MILLIONS of dollars and I’m sitting here during intermission of a hockey game writing a blog about a football team…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, WHY IN THE WORLD IS CHRISTIAN DARRISAW STILL PRACTICING WITH THE TWOS?!

Yes, I am aware that it’s only three days into the full team offseason programming.

Yes, I am aware that Darrisaw is a rookie and likely doesn’t have a full grasp on the playbook.

I understand all of that, but what I don’t understand is if you’re drafting a player in the first round, fully intending to play him as your starter at left tackle, why don’t you give him EVERY OPPORTUNITY he could possibly get to adapt to the speed and strength of the NFL?

I’ve got nothing against Rashod Hill, but when it was unearthed that Hill was taking #1 snaps on day one and then with the media on hand for day #3 and Hill was still taking top team reps, I just don’t get it?

You know what you have with Rashod Hill. He’s been with the Vikings for the entirety of his five year career and has served mostly as a backup. So it’s not like Darrisaw has to earn his stripes and prove his worth to usurp a proven starter in the league. Yet that’s what they’re saying, at least for now.

“We want those guys to earn their stripes,” Offensive Coordinator Klint Kubiak told the media Wednesday after practice. “There are a lot of things that are new to them right now. We’ve got good veteran coaches in rick [Rauscher] and Phil [Dennison] getting those young guys ready to play.”

Why not get them ready to play against the top team defensive unit to see what they’ve got? Nothing is full speed right now. Nothing is full contact. Even if they don’t know the full offense right now, the best way to learn is to jump in headfirst and get on the field.

How many times have we heard over the years about the benefit of an offensive line playing together and getting time with a familiar face next to you. They gel together, they learn each other’s tendencies, they know and compensate for each others weaknesses and ultimately this familiarity offers the team the best combination that their personnel can offer.

Start building that rapport now.

Anybody who’s paid attention to a football team practice understands that the first team gets a majority of the reps, even in OTAs they get more opportunities than the second string unit…give Darrisaw as many reps as possible to adapt, to learn and to grow.

While we’re at it, the same thing goes for Wyatt Davis.

There we teams in the draft that had a first round grade on Davis. If the team is experimenting with Ezra Cleveland on the left side guard position, that would lead you to believe even more that they expect Wyatt Davis who is a true right guard to fill in as a starter this season. Dakota Dozier is great, his a team player that adds depth across the board, awesome. But if Dakota Dozier is your starting right guard to start the season we’re gonna have some issues keeping Kirk upright. Been there, done that already.

This is undoubtedly a bit of Mike Zimmer’s old school mentality trickling down to position coaches who are putting these lines together right now. Stop playing games, stop making them prove it, you drafted them high for a reason. They are part of your plan, why are you waiting to feel that out?

If it goes horribly, then adjust. Until then, get these guys as many snaps or fake snaps or whatever you want to call it with the first team offense so they can start gelling.

We want to move some guys around and see, we get Exra on the Left we can get Dakota on the right. Those guys are swiss army knives, they know many positions. We want to make sure they know as many as possible because things happen in the season and you’ve got to move guys around. This is the time of year to try those things out.

Adding a little context and opening it up for you to sound off as well, I posted this poll to Twitter today…what do you think?

Listen for Aj Mansour on KFAN and The Power Trip Morning Show, specifically on Friday’s for the popular Initials Game at 8:15am! While you’re at it follow Aj on Twitter and check out a few podcasts that he hosts including Here and Now, The FAN Dads and The State of Purple!

AJ Mansour

AJ Mansour is the digital content director for KFAN in the Twin Cities, the self-appointed king of initials as well as one of our Vikings Insiders.

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qckappa
qckappa
21 days ago

If you know its only day 3 then don’t say dumb stuff. Its only day 3!!!

Jon tatler
21 days ago

As you wrote, “Yes, I am aware that it’s only three days into the full team offseason programming. Yes, I am aware that Darrisaw is a rookie and likely doesn’t have a full grasp on the playbook”.

So you’ve answered your own question.

Just please don’t quit your day job.

Bbigs
Bbigs
21 days ago

Sounds like somebody knows more than offensive line coaches who have been coaching high level offensive lineman for forever….I’m shocked that they don’t just fire zimmer and hire you…🙄

Bbigs
Bbigs
Reply to  AJ Mansour
21 days ago

Interesting decision to passive-aggressively challenge a guy(Dennison) who I’m sure you don’t know personally and who made an 8 year NFL career out of being an undrafted free agent, has coached for 26 years, and has 3 super bowl rings.

Bbigs
Bbigs
Reply to  AJ Mansour
20 days ago

Sounds like you’ve had tons of experience developing athletes

John Updike
John Updike
21 days ago

Got to agree with you why is hill and dozier started and not the 2 rookies

John from up North
John from up North
21 days ago

So I understand what you are saying but I’m just going to play devil’s advocate here. First off, it’s not like Cleveland is a 5 year vet either and he is learning a new position for the 2nd year in a row. You want to have a guy next to him that knows what he is doing to help Cleveland progress at the LG spot. Much harder for him to improve if he is helping the guy next to him every other play.
Secondly while I get that you are not a fan of the “earn your stripes” argument, it’s much more positive for development to be told “your progressing so we are moving you up to Line 1” vs “you aren’t catching on as fast as we hoped so we are going to put you with the twos. These are still young men with a lot of pride coming from being “the man”. Think you are great though and just fun to be talking about OTAs again! 🙂

cka2nd
cka2nd
21 days ago

Take. A. Chill. Pill.

Mike
Mike
21 days ago

It *was* nice to learn who’s taking first team reps and at what position. I read your piece for the information knowing that opinion is often what gets people’s positive and negative attention.

Thanks for writing and sharing a little during the doldrums AJ. And thanks for responding to everyone with such good humor and positivity. It’s tense out there. Conversations had in good fun are always welcome.

– Mike

Donald Terry
Donald Terry
21 days ago

Aren’t both guys coming off of injures and possible procedures?!??

John
John
20 days ago

They clearly are the plan. There is no plan b here, them not getting it and moving to plan b isn’t an option. So, you give them what they can handle and move them up when they can handle it. So how are they looking against the 2s? Who are they specifically up against?

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