Starting RG Spot for Vikings Is ‘Fluid’
Think you’ve got a strong idea of who might win the Minnesota Vikings RG battle at training camp? Guess again.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell confirmed on Saturday that the right guard competition was ongoing. The new skipper told reporters, “As far as the right guard position, everything is still very, very fluid with a lot of guys competing in the interior of our offensive line right there. And they’ve all put themselves in a position, and rightly so, to get reps and truly be evaluated.”
At June’s minicamp, free-agent newcomer Jesse Davis from the Miami Dolphins joined the first team, a surprising move because the Idaho alumnus was a tackle for the last three seasons in Miami. Davis did, however, play guard during his first two NFL seasons, but the Dolphins shifted him to tackle in 2019.
And to the degree allowable, Davis looked good at RG in June. So far in summer training camp, Davis opened up as RG with the first-teamers once again. On Friday, though, Davis was sidelined with an unknown malady, casting fellow free-agent addition Chris Reed into first-team action.
Reed, a six-year NFL veteran, has spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts. When Davis was signed — he was theorized as a reservist tackle acquisition — and no NFL draft had taken place yet, Reed was pegged as the RG solution for the 2022 Vikings. Why? Well, he’s fired up a Pro Football Focus grade above 60.0 in the last three seasons, nearly a Holy Grail for Vikings RG standards. So when Davis waltzed into June as the presumptive RG1, heads turned.
Rookie Ed Ingram from LSU is also a contender for the gig — and he should be. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah scooped Ingram out of the 2022 NFL Draft in Round 2, meaning the youngster should start sooner than later. GMs don’t draft interior linemen in Rounds 1 and 2 with aforethought planning to waste them on the bench. Based on draft placement, Ingram should start against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 if his summer is respectable.
Meanwhile, Vikings fans are merely relishing the process. Not long ago, the team would audition a backup-caliber player for right guard like Dakota Dozier, Dru Samia, or Oli Udoh and call it good. And each September, Vikings faithful would observe as the same nightmare unfolded — the new plan at RG falling apart, with the Q1 under siege.
This time around, either Davis, Reed, or Ingram will win the job and potentially thrive. Should one of them struggle out of the gate, the other two candidates wait in the wings as replacements.
Training camp continues on Monday with players in pads for the first time.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).