Injuries Could Thwart All-Pro Season for Vikings Lineman

Revamp in Order
Ezra Cleveland and Christian Darrisaw

The Minnesota Vikings employ one of the best left tackles in the league, but injuries could thwart an All-Pro Season for Christian Darrisaw. There is no doubting Darrisaw’s ability, but Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons was the second game this season he missed through injury.

Injuries Could Thwart All-Pro Season for Vikings Lineman

The injury issues started before Darrisaw stepped on an NFL football field. Minnesota’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in 2021 saw the start of his rookie season delayed by a groin injury that caused him to miss the first three games. He missed another game later in the 2021 season with an ankle injury. In 2022, Darrisaw missed three games because of a concussion, while this season, he missed Week 2 with an ankle injury and Week 9 with a groin injury. It’s a concerning trend.

could thwart
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Injuries happen in the NFL; these are big men playing a physical sport, and Darrisaw has not had an injury that has caused him to miss more than three games — though it remains to be seen how long his current groin injury will keep him off the field. Darrisaw was a limited participant on Wednesday’s injury report, leaving hope that he may be available for Sunday’s game. It will be something to monitor over the next couple of days. A catalog of different injuries building up is frustrating, and assuredly for Darrisaw himself as much as anyone. 

Putting Together an Elite Campaign

Darrisaw has been putting together an elite campaign, proving that nobody is better at the tackle position when he’s on the field. Pro Football Focus released their mid-season All-Pro team this week, and Darrisaw was the only Vikings to be selected for the first team. Justin Jefferson was selected to the second despite missing the last four games. If Darrisaw or Jefferson want to get real All-Pro awards or stay in place in the PFF version, they need to get back on the field.

Christian Darrisaw's Return Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson and Darrisaw are the future of the Minnesota Vikings. Both are already great players, and while Trent Williams has been widely viewed as the best tackle in football — selected as first-team All-Pro for the last two seasons — Darrisaw has the ability to take that spot. Williams is now 35 and coming to the end of his career, while Darrisaw is just 24 and could dominate the league for the next 10 years. The only thing that will stop him is if the injuries continue.

Here’s what PFF had to say about selecting Darrisaw as their first-team All-Pro choice;

The 2021 first-round draft pick is following up a standout 2022 campaign with an equally impressive 2023. He missed this past week due to injury, but he has allowed just 13 total pressures from 304 pass-blocking snaps this season.

Gordon McGuinness, Pro Football Focus

PFF gives Darrisaw an overall grade of 86.0, which is first among all tackles in the league. The tackle position comes with two jobs, pass blocking and run blocking, and while some offensive linemen excel in one area more than the other, that’s not the case with Darrisaw. He dominates in both areas with a pass-blocking grade of 82.9 and a run-blocking grade of 84.0.

The consistency in both areas puts him in the elite category among players at his position. He has consolidated himself as one of the best tackles in the league this season, but there’s plenty of competition, and if he is to get the All-Pro honors his play deserves, he can’t afford to miss many more games.

Christian Darrisaw
Image Courtesy of @christomasson on Twitter.

The Vikings hope to have him back this Sunday as they stretch their win streak to five games and consolidate their position in the playoff places.