Vikings OC Has a Strange but Funny Description for Lineman

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Vikings fans must wait a couple of more days before their favorite team opens its 2023 campaign. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers challenge the purple team in Week 1. Coming off a surprising 13-4 season, the Vikings enter the next season with a healthy roster and feature a newly built defense and an offense with the advantage of continuity.

Vikings OC Has a Strange but Funny Description for Lineman

Vikings OC Has a Strange but Funny Description for Lineman
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The coaches have talked about the continuity on the offensive line ad nauseam. All five starters from last season returned and will be the unquestioned starting unit in 2023. Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill combine into one of the elite tackle duos, while the interior line could be an issue, at least it was last season.

Ed Ingram, Ezra Cleveland, and Garrett Bradbury are under pressure to improve after a struggling year. The starters all return, but the backups are new. Offensive guard Blake Brandel moved over from backup left tackle, and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips is a fan of his new guard because of his body type.

Blake’s just a good football player. He has shown versatility, he has shown in a pinch to jump in at tackle, but getting a lot of reps at both guard spots, he’s still working in a little at center, being able to be all those three interiors. He kind of gives you a comfort level because he does things the right way, he’s a large man inside. You like to have those big rectangular guards. You love those rectangle guys. He’s certainly one of those guys, and he loves ball. He’s had a really good camp.

Wes Phillips

Rectangular is an uncommon description for a football player and a human in general. Brandel began his professional career as a tackle and sixth-round pick in 2019.

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In college, Brandel was a staple of Oregon State, starting 48 consecutive games at left and right tackle. He was considered a depth tackle or perhaps a guard at some point after putting on mass. And that is exactly how his career is trending.

The Oregon native has already exceeded expectations of a sixth-rounder as a solid backup swing tackle. Brandel replaced Christian Darrisaw in the starting lineup when he was forced to miss time with a couple of concussions.

His versatility is a huge bonus, in addition to his solid blocking skills. Brandel can play both tackle and guard spots and is getting some work as center. He was a downgrade from Darrisaw but still looked like a fine backup in his place, someone who belongs in the NFL, unlike some offensive linemen the Vikings had in the last decade.

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The Vikings also employed Oli Udoh and Vederian Lowe (who has since been traded to the New England Patriots) but didn’t have much depth at guard. Veteran Chris Reed has been out with a non-football injury all offseason, so moving one of the tackles to guard was a smart move.

Brandel backs up Ingram, who has mightily struggled in his debut season. If his problems continue, he might be a possible replacement.

Brandel is 26 and will be a restricted free agent after the season.

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