Ed Ingram Played Well. Source? Him.

Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and guard Ed Ingram (67) in action during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings were defeated by the reigning NFC South champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Sunday in their season opener. Certainly, the expectations were that last year’s 13-4 group would take care of the Bucs without Tom Brady, but Kevin O’Connell’s operation made too many mistakes to enter Week 2 with a 1-0 record.

Ed Ingram Played Well. Source? Him.

Ed Ingram Played Well, According to Himself
Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; LSU Tigers guard Ed Ingram (70) reacts after a touchdown against the Mississippi Rebels during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

One of the guys prone to blunders is offensive guard Ed Ingram, a second-year player out of LSU. He was supposed to fix the right guard spot, a position that has been problematic for years. One year and one game into his career, it is fair to say that he hasn’t fixed anything yet.

The same old Ingram showed up in Week 1, the same guy fans had to endure for 18 games in 2022. He is simply inconsistent, too inconsistent to be comfortable with him protecting the starting quarterback on a play-to-play basis. Ingram gives up too many pressures and hits, and Sunday was no different.

But Ingram disagrees with the general perception. When he was asked on Monday about his showing in Week 1, he said: “I feel like I played pretty well. I kinda had some slight mistakes, but other than that, I liked my performance.”

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Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) defends against Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Vernon Butler (94) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Expressing that with a smile on his face shows confidence but also delusion to some extent. According to Pro Football Focus, he ranked outside of the top 50 offensive guards in both overall grade and pass-blocking grades. He also led the Vikings with four pressures allowed.

The infamous play in which he forced a fumble should not lead to an overreaction as it was a fluky play much more than incompetence, but the continued struggles in the passing game are a different story.

Bad games happen, and he didn’t play against some no-names but against a defensive line that features Vita Vea, one of the most disruptive players in the league and certainly not an easy guy to block. However, Ingram is coming off a rookie season with disastrous efficiency in pass-blocking, failing to protect Kirk Cousins all year and allowing defenders to put the passer on his back all year.

The second-round pick led NFL guards in pressures and sacks allowed in his debut season and ranked in the top five in hits and hurries allowed. All of that is unacceptable. The Vikings put a lot of faith in him and, for some reason, didn’t add any meaningful competition for him to beat out for the starting role, hoping for a sophomore jump, a possible but not automatic development for young linemen.

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Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Blake Brandel (64) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

The only other guard on the roster is Blake Brandel, who was moved over from tackle and doesn’t feel like real competition despite earning praise from his offensive coordinator, Wes Phillips. Chris Reed, who was a backup last season, is hurt but could return later in the season. The veteran has shown his ability to be a decent starting guard in the past, but he didn’t win the job last year, so it might be too much to ask of him to be an upgrade over Ingram.

There are some free agents available with a track record as starters, like Andrew Norwell or Dalton Risner, but nothing is imminent at this point, and the coaching staff continues to put all faith in Ingram to finally improve to an acceptable level.

That would feel a whole lot better if the player actually said that he didn’t play well because, objectively, he didn’t. Improvement will only occur if a player recognizes his flaws and tries to learn from his mistakes. Ingram’s response to the question didn’t indicate that.

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