Vikings Hit a Grand Slam Up Front

Yes, this is the NFL we’re talking about, but it’s impossible to see Christian Darrisaw through the eyes of anything but a Major League Baseball reference. The Vikings left tackle has been nothing short of a grand slam in 2022.

For years, Mike Zimmer-led teams rotated left tackles through the offensive line. Despite bringing in a quarterback that eats up a significant portion of the salary cap, general manager Rick Spielman did a terrible job when it came to protecting him. Then he made the Christian Darrisaw pick, and in year two, it appears he finally got it right.

Obviously, both Spielman and Zimmer are gone. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has inherited the roster, and Kevin O’Connell has ensured that Darrisaw is the starter each weekend. While watching a game on any given Sunday, you can see the former first-round pick stacking up pancakes and moving opposing edge rushers as if he’s the second coming of Paul Bunyan.

It’s not just the eye test that gets us to this point, either. Pro Football Focus has ranked Darrisaw as the top tackle in the NFL.

Back in October, I wrote about how much of a difference it has made for Minnesota that the bookends on the line are cemented. We’ve known that Brian O’Neill was a solid talent for some time, which led to his massive contract extension. Finding out that the Vikings were gifted the opportunity to draft Darrisaw and watching him excel only makes the 8-1 start that much sweeter.

Vikings Winners and Losers — Week 8
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

It is worth noting that Minnesota needs its big man to stay healthy. He was evaluated for a concussion on Sunday afternoon. Blake Brandel took over and held his own as the Vikings came back, but the dropoff in talent there on a weekly basis is certainly something that will be more than evident.

Wanting to be an All-Pro has been a goal of Darrisaw’s, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be seen as a lock at this point. He’ll need to continue the performance the rest of the way, but being named an All-Pro for the first time and doing it as a first-teamer will undoubtedly be icing on the cake.

Minnesota has long had issues up front, and you have to credit a 23-year-old star in the making for helping to get them over the hump.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.