A Lot Rides on the Young Viking Guards

5 Surprising Vikings Who Could Be Cut This Summer
Wyatt Davis. Creator: David Berding. Credit: Getty Images

When the Minnesota Vikings selected Wyatt Davis in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it seemed like the team had finally put their offensive line woes behind them. Then, Davis spent much of training camp and preseason injured, and Oli Udoh won the job as starting right guard. While Udoh struggled with penalties throughout the season, Davis was barely able to crack into the special teams lineup.

Given the minuscule role that Davis played for the Vikings in 2021, the right guard position was once again a point of emphasis ahead of the 2022 draft. That led the Vikings towards using one of their second round selections on LSU guard Ed Ingram. To this point in the offseason, Ingram remains unsigned and is practicing on an injury protection agreement.

Now with the 2022 regular season looming, something needs to give. One of these young guards needs to step up and fill in the starting role.

This is true for a variety of reasons. For one, I don’t think it’s a hot take to say that if the Vikings roll out Garrett Bradbury at center and Jesse Davis or Chris Reed at right guard, then that is the worst-case scenario. If BOTH of these young prospects that were selected with Day Two picks do not do enough to crack the starting lineup above these other options, then a dark shadow reading ”bust” begins to hover, especially over Wyatt Davis.

On top of that, the Vikings had many other notable needs to fill this offseason. The secondary was largely taken care of in the draft, but EDGE was argued by many as a need early on. It is certainly a valid concern, given that the Vikings major talents come into the 2022 campaign with significant injury history. Free agent acquisition Za’Darius Smith missed 16 games in 2021, and Danielle Hunter has played just seven games since the start of the 2020 season.

Even looking past the EDGE needs in 2022, Minnesota could have helped solve their secondary issues last year as Elijah Molden was still on the board when they took Davis. Molden was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 100th overall pick and started seven games. That sort of player could have been useful when the Bashaud Breeland debacle was happening.

All of this is not meant to knock the selections that the Vikings made. Obviously, interior offensive line is a very pressing need, and I believe at least one, if not both, of these players could be starters by the time we reach the Vikings bye.

A lineup of Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Wyatt Davis, Ed Ingram, and Brian O’Neill not only carries some of the best talent in the league, but it is an extremely young core that should only continue to improve with time. Hopefully it happens, but we need to see Davis and Ingram prove that they belong first.