Where the Vikings Offensive Line Ranked According to PFF

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) celebrate after the touchdown in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

In January, Pro Football Focus announced its end-of-season rankings for the offensive line. No matter who the general manager, head coach, and quarterback are for the 2022 season, completing the offensive line should be a top priority.

Though it has often felt like a neglected area of the team, the truth is there has been a fair share of money and draft capital thrown at it. This season, the Vikings had two first-round picks and two second-round picks playing on their offensive line. With that kind of draft capital spent, they should have a young line set to dominate for years. Let’s start by seeing where the Vikings offensive line is ranked by PFF this season.

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-final-2021-offensive-line-rankings

The Vikings offensive line comes in at number 23, two places higher than last season. That puts them in the bottom third of the league. The aim needs to be at least into the top half. The area that needs vast improvement is no secret, and the individual PPF grades confirm that.

LT Christian Darrisaw – 71.8

LG Ezra Cleveland – 68.1

C   Garrett Bradbury – 60.2

RG Oli Udoh – 54.7

RT Brian O’Neill – 73.7

Unfortunately, Christian Darrisaw’s rookie season didn’t start properly until Week 6. He also missed two other games with injury. Rashod Hill started the season at left tackle, garnering a terrible overall grade of 42.5. In Darrisaw and O’Neill, the Vikings have two tackles that make them solid at the edge — something Sam Monson agreed within the PFF article, writing;

Rookie Christian Darrisaw looks like a major addition to the line that will pay dividends going forward, the first Minnesota has had since it drafted Brian O’Neill on the other side of the line. Darrisaw finished with a 71.8 PFF grade after allowing 22 pressures in 11 games.

The tackles were the two best-graded members of the line and the only two above 70.0 overall. O’Neill was the lone Vikings lineman to play snaps this season who earned a pass-blocking grade above 65.0, and that is where Minnesota’s biggest area to target improvement needs to be.

Under Mike Zimmer, the offensive line was built for a wide zone scheme, emphasizing smaller, more athletic players and running the ball. We don’t know what offensive scheme the Vikings will utilize when the new head coach comes in.

The Vikings need to get bigger on the offensive line. That was voiced as to why Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis were picked in last year’s draft, and it is still the case.

Darrisaw started to make his presence felt. However, Davis has not had his chance yet. The other big question mark is at center, where Garrett Bradbury hasn’t lived up to his first-round selection. He hasn’t shown the strength to stand up to NFL nose tackles in pass protection. A stronger body at center sounds appealing after watching Bradbury struggle for three seasons.

Ezra Cleveland has transitioned to guard well and has continually improved. If he can continue that improvement in his third year, he can lock up that left guard spot. Finally, the Vikings offensive line shows some potential to become a top 16 unit if they can find a center and right guard to complete the lineup. With an array of offensive weapons on the roster, completing that offensive line would give any quarterback ample chance to succeed.