PFF Earmarks Christian Darrisaw as 2nd Year Breakout Candidate

The Vikings Most Important Non-Star
Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

A list of 10 potential second-year breakout candidates was compiled by Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus.

Among names like Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Kwity Paye, and Jaycee Horn appeared one of Minnesota’s own. Unsurprisingly, last year’s first-round pick Christian Darrisaw is seen as a potential second-year breakout candidate.

Complications in his recovery from surgery to an injury in his groin area meant his debut season got off to a late start. It was Week 5 before he got to line up at left tackle — the position he hopes to solidify for the next decade. The step-up to the pros is always a big one, but for a player who had no preseason and had to play catch up, Darrisaw did an admirable job in his first season and showed enough to give hope at left tackle.

Christian Darrisaw
ELIZABETH FLORES, STAR TRIBUNE

Michael Renner seems to agree, giving the following reasoning for his choice of Darrisaw: 

Darrisaw’s NFL career did not start off the way the Vikings had hoped — surgical recovery complications caused him to miss the first four weeks of the season. While he took his lumps, Darrisaw was a decidedly different player toward the end of the campaign. His five highest-graded games (out of 11) came in his final six games of the season. That’s a pretty clear and encouraging sign of growth heading into 2022.

Michael Renner | Pro Football Focus

His overall grade for the season from PFF was 71.9, which is only slightly down from Brian O’Neill, the standout star of the Minnesota Vikings offensive line. Run blocking was an era Darrisaw shined from the outset, finishing with a run-blocking grade of 77.3. Pass Protection is the more difficult area, and although it was a mixed bag for Darrisaw, the potential is visible. His pass-blocking grade of 63.1 was serviceable but is where consistent growth is needed in his second year. 

One real positive was the lack of penalties. He had three in total for the season, one false start, one offensive holding, and one ineligible player downfield. There are solid foundations and game intelligence, and he is already a good player. My hopes are loftier than “a good player” for Darrisaw. I genuinely believe he can push on and be one of the best tackles in the league over the next few seasons.

All being well, he will have a full preseason behind him going into his second season, where he will get the chance to work with new offensive line coach Chris Kuper and new assistant offensive line coach Justin Rascati. The hope will be Christian Darrisaw can be dominant on the left side of the offensive line — in both the run game and the passing game. He has the tools to do it and should be in a better situation to succeed this year.

He is a player I will enjoy watching closely this season, and hopefully, Darrisaw proves to be a second-year breakout candidate.

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