2nd Year Viking Repaying Faith Shown in Him

New Punter Repays Vikings Faith in Big Way
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Last year, the Minnesota Vikings drafted Ed Ingram with the 59th overall pick. With interior offensive linemen a glaring need for the Vikings, he started the season as the Vikings’ right guard and has played every game since.

2nd Year Viking Repaying Faith Shown in Him

The second-year Viking is repaying the faith shown in him. It has been a rocky road for Ingram at times, but halfway through his second season, he is currently playing his best football to date.

Ingram’s rookie season got off to a bad start, and although he improved in the second half, some notable errors enhanced his struggles. Over his first 28 games as a Viking, he has stepped on Kirk Cousins’ foot three times and accidentally knocked the ball out of his hands once. Those errors caused ridicule, and Vikings fans were desperate to jettison Ingram from the team and replace him with someone else. 

2nd Year Viking
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The Vikings stood firm with their guy even when Dalton Risner was brought in as a free agent in September. Risner would eventually replace the injured Ezra Cleveland at left guard, who would then be traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cleveland was a pending free agent who had done enough to earn a good contract that I didn’t think the Vikings would want to pay. Keeping Ingram on his rookie deal and hoping for continued development is the smart move — as long as Ingram delivers.

Improved Second Season

Ingram has been better in his second season. That’s the progression you want when you draft a rookie. Last season, he had an overall grade from Pro Football Focus of 57.1. This season, that is up to 62.4.

The big difference is the pass blocking grade, which was a concerning 44.4 last season but is up to 60.9 this season. Ingram would too often be beaten immediately, pushed back into the quarterback’s lap, spun around like a turnstile, or simply dumped on the floor. We aren’t seeing those types of plays several times a game anymore.

Ingram Starting
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Ingram has proved he can be a serviceable part of a Vikings’ OL playing good football this year, particularly at protecting their QB — all three of them! According to PFF, the Vikings have the fifth-best offensive line in the league following the Week 10 slate of games. For the Vikings to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Lions, Ravens, and Eagles in PFF’s ranking is impressive.

Further Improvement 

There’s still much room for improvement, and Ingram needs to take those steps before we anoint him the long-term answer for the Vikings at right guard. He just needs to look to the man on his left, Garrett Bradbury, to see the path of progression he needs to take. Bradbury had similar struggles at the beginning of his career, with plenty of talk about him needing to be replaced. He has found a way to prove himself a solid starting center who’s not being talked about as a player on the roster bubble anymore — Ingram needs to follow suit.

Unsung Young Viking
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The encouraging part of Ingram’s game this season is that he consistently plays with run and pass blocking. Vikings’ offensive line coach, Chris Kuper, deserves plenty of credit for improving Ingram and the whole Vikings OL.

Ingram looks to be in a good place to keep improving. He has still had tough games, but he has also had games where he has done particularly well — notably the last two games. Can he continue the upward trend and cement his place in this Vikings OL? That is down to Ingram and what he does in the next seven games.

A much improved Broncos defense is the first challenge.