Vikings in Rarified Air at 1 Roster Spot

Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; The line of scrimmage during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The only team in the NFL with better offensive tackles than the Minnesota Vikings is the Philadelphia Eagles.

That’s the word, according to Pro Football Focus anyway.

Vikings in Rarified Air at 1 Roster Spot

Minnesota employs Christian Darrisaw (LT) and Brian O’Neill (RT) at the two positions, and only the Eagles tandem of Lane Johnson (RT) and Jordan Mailata (LT) is better per PFF.

Rarified Air at 1
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) prepares to block against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF’s Gordon McGuinness ranked the league’s top offensive tackles this week, and Darrisaw checked in at No. 5, with O’Neill at No. 16. Johnson from the Eagles ranked second and Mailata sixth. The Vikings twosome joined just a total of four teams with two men in the Top 20:

  • Eagles: Lane Johnson (2) | Jordan Mailata (6)
  • Vikings: Christian Darrisaw (5) | Brian O’Neill (16)
  • Lions: Peneii Sewell (10) | Taylor Decker (19)
  • Ravens: Ronnie Staley (12) | Morgan Moses (20)
Significant Week 18
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

At No. 5, McGuinness wrote about Darrisaw, “The 23rd selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Darrisaw impressed as a rookie before taking a big step forward in 2022. Just two players at the position bettered the 90.6 PFF run-blocking grade produced by the former Virginia Tech standout, and while he still needs to improve his consistency in pass protection, his 82.4 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2022 was the eighth-best mark at the position.”

The Vikings traded back in the 2021 NFL Draft to land Darrisaw, a move seeming like one of the team’s best draft choices in the last decade. After Darrisaw gained his rookie footing two years ago, he hasn’t looked back and hence graces fancy lists like PFF’s

Christian Darrisaw Is
Nov 28, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) after the loss against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.

On O’Neill, McGuiness opined, “The 62nd selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, O’Neill has developed into one of the best right tackles in football, coming off a career-high 82.7 PFF grade in 2022 that ranked eighth among all tackles. Even if that’s his peak, his floor is a player who hasn’t graded below 70.0 in each of the past four seasons, logging more than 1,000 snaps in each of those years, too.”

O’Neill was supposed to be a player who worked into Minnesota’s offense five years ago, but injuries arose, and the Pittsburgh alumnus was thrust into action early in 2018 as a rookie. He never relinquished the job.

A Vikings Stalwart
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

Filling out the Vikings 2023 offensive line, at least on paper heading into the summer, are left guard Ezra Cleveland (PFF grade = 73.5), center Garrett Bradbury (70.2), and right guard Ed Ingram (57.1).

Minnesota finished 2022 with the NFL’s 13th-best overall offensive line grade, according to PFF — a sharp improvement from the mid-to-low 20s of previous seasons under Mike Zimmer.

O’Neill and Darrisaw will turn 28 and 24 this year, respectively.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by