Vikings Pro Bowler Declares Himself Ready

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The Minnesota Vikings are preparing for the regular season that kicks off on September 10th with a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by their new quarterback, Baker Mayfield. Part of that preparation is training camp and joint practices against the Tennessee Titans last week, the Arizona Cardinals this week, and the three preseason contests. The last one will take place on Saturday.

Vikings Pro Bowler Declares Himself Ready

Vikings Pro Bowler Declares Himself Ready
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One guy who will not play against the Cardinals is offensive tackle Brian O’Neill, who suffered a partially torn Achilles less than eight months ago when he tried to chase the defender on an interception return. He subsequently missed the final regular season game and the playoff meeting with the New York Giants.

The goal for him has always been Week 1, and the Vikings followed a strict program in training camp to get him ready for that. It started with some individual drills, followed by participation in walkthroughs, then one-on-one matchups, and now he is fully participating in team drills, blocking defenders in play simulations.

He spoke about his experiences in joint practices on Thursday and then what the next steps are to be ready for Week 1:

It was a lot of fun. Playing real football against real opponents in real-life settings felt good. I was really happy to be out there. I was excited.

I’m not 100% sure. I think that’s a conversation between me and Tyler (Williams, Vikings executive Director of Player Health and Performance) and KOC (Kevin O’Connell) but I feel like I could go tomorrow if we had a game. I’d be pounding on the table to go play so confidence-wise I’m ready to go. I’m not as well-versed medically as they are but confidence-wise I’m ready to go if we had a game tomorrow, I’m out there and I’m going to play 100% of the snaps.

Brian O’Neill
Vikings Place 2 Players on IR, Sign 2 New
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O’Neill has more than two weeks to prepare to face the Buccaneers, and the Vikings need his presence on the field. The offensive line has been a big problem in Minnesota, and it continues to be a concern despite the two strong offensive tackles.

He and Christian Darrisaw form one of the elite tackle duos, and they do a fantastic job keeping Kirk Cousins clean while the interior struggles. Their job gets easier when they are protected on the outside. A sophomore jump from Ed Ingram is possible and could fix some problems.

The right tackle has been a staple on the line since he was inserted into the starting lineup in his rookie season, 2018. He was viewed as a projected in the pre-draft process because he was undersized as a converted tight end coming out of Pittsburgh, but that concern turned out to be false.

to Spell Absolute Doom
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O’Neill has been one of the most consistent players in the NFL and a strong pass protector, barely allowing anyone to come near Cousins. That was rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl after the 2021 season. The offensive tackle signed a five-year $92.5 million contract in 2021 and is under contract until the 2027 offseason.

The veteran had not missed a game because of injury before his Achilles issue, and he is on pace to only miss two contests because of that. He will turn 28 after the Week 1 game, which could be the 80th in his career.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt