What Does Dalton Risner Fix for the Vikings?

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Since training camp, the Minnesota Vikings have been linked to former Denver Broncos guard Dalton Risner. They finally made the move to bring him in after two losses to begin the season. Realistically, what can he fix for this team?

What Does Dalton Risner Fix for the Vikings?

When the Vikings first engaged Dalton Risner, it was during training camp, and he was simply brought in for a visit. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah allowed him to leave the facility without a deal, and head coach Kevin O’Connell reiterated a belief in the already employed linemen.

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Fast forward to where we are now, and the Vikings need for a player like RIsner has never been more necessary. Christian Darrisaw has been nicked up, Garrett Bradbury has missed games, Oli Udoh is done for the year, and Ed Ingram looks anything but starting caliber. So, is Risner the silver bullet that fixes everything?

Unfortunately, probably not.

However, Risner addresses multiple key areas for Minnesota. As a guard, he immediately presents an upgrade over Ingram. The second-year player has not taken the steps forward you would have liked to see at this point, and Minnesota can be better by limiting his playing time. Maybe as soon as Week 3, Risner will take over as the starter and push Ingram into more of a rotational role. The youngster may also benefit from having a proven veteran in front of him, helping to coach on technique.

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Beyond just an impact on the line itself, one would hope Risner can also impact the running game. Although he has been more notable as a pass blocker during his career, the Vikings aren’t even trying when it comes to the running game. Alexander Mattison has flopped, but the interior offensive line has also been unable to open any holes. Risner, as a better player in general, could be a key to providing a few additional running lanes.

In a game where two teams with higher aspirations sit 0-2, O’Connell’s team needs to figure things out and do it quickly. Maybe the Vikings weren’t expected to be a playoff team by many this year, and there was plenty of reason to believe in regression, but this could get ugly quickly. The NFC North is shaping up to be a lackluster division, and that stands to benefit Minnesota, but only if Risner and his new teammates can get it going.

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Thus far, the Vikings passing game has been every bit as good as expected. Jordan Addison has emerged as a legitimate threat for Kirk Cousins, and Justin Jefferson remains a superstar. T.J. Hockenson has found plenty of ways to contribute, and K.J. Osborn has also had opportunities sprinkled in. If Risner and his prowess for pass blocking can improve that, the sky might be the limit on offense.

How soon Risner makes his impact, and to what extent, remains to be seen. The amount it is felt could help swing the season’s momentum, however.


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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