Vikings Sign New OT after Brian O’Neill Injury

The Minnesota Vikings are down to nubbins for offensive line depth as injuries have impacted RT Brian O’Neill, C Garrett Bradbury, C Austin Schlottmann, and OT Blake Brandel in the last few weeks.

Scanty offensive trenches are incredibly unfavorable for an upcoming playoff push, so Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did something about it on Tuesday. Minnesota signed Bobby Evans to the practice squad, who will undergo a reunion with head coach Kevin O’Connell from shared time with the Los Angeles Rams.

NFL insider Jordan Schultz tweeted Tuesday, “OT Bobby Evans signed with the Vikings practice squad today, a source tells The Score. Evans, 25, won a Super Bowl with the Rams last season and was released December 31 by LA.”

Vikings Sign New OT after Brian O’Neill Injury

Moments before — in an absolutely terrible development for the Vikings — Minnesota placed Brian O’Neill on injured reserve, essentially ending his season unless the Vikings miraculously reach the Super Bowl.

Vikings Sign New OT
Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Bobby Evans. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Selected in the 3rd Round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Rams, Evans arrived in the NFL from the University of Oklahoma and has played in 35 games while starting 12. He participated in the Rams 2021 Super Bowl triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals, albeit four snaps in special teams action.

To date, Evans has been a part of 878 career offensive snaps and actually played 314 snaps this year with the Rams. The man is experienced, particularly as of late.

Jan 17, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; A general overall view as Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Bobby Evans. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Evans is unlikely to start, as that duty is tentatively pegged for Oli Udoh, who played right guard for the Vikings in 2021. Minnesota also has rookie Vederian Lowe on the depth chart if something happens to Udoh.

Here is Evans’ Pro Football Focus resume since entering the league:

  • 2019 = 49.4
  • 2020 = 60.0 (hardly played)
  • 2021 = 48.2
  • 2022 = 29.8

If Evans qualified for PFF‘s minimum snap count, he would rank as the worst offensive tackle in the league this season. His pass-blocking grade of 16.4 is especially head-scratching.

Can the Vikings Salvage Their Rookie Class?
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

To reiterate, Evans is a contingency plan — who isn’t likely to play this weekend at Chicago or in the postseason. That’s what Udoh and Lowe are for — game action. Evans is a depth personality as the Vikings merely need bodies.

The Vikings also signed center Greg Mancz, a 30-year-old journeyman center with 64 games of NFL experience.

Before last week, the Vikings offensive line ranked 10th in the NFL per PFF.

Evans was teammates with Mark Andrews, Baker Mayfield, Joe Mixon, and Kyler Murray at Oklahoma. He was also a member of Sooner teams with former Vikings Dru Samia and Dede Westbrook.

The Vikings play the Chicago Bears this Sunday to end the regular season.

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 Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).