Ed Ingram Failed the Stern Buccaneers Test

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans react during the fourth quarter during a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Heading into the Week 1 game with Tampa Bay, I pinpointed Ed Ingram, hoping to see some Year 2 progression from the Vikings right guard. It was a tough place to start against a formidable and aggressive Buccaneers defensive front, but I still hoped for a competent performance from Ingram — we didn’t get one. Ingram failed the stern Buccaneers test and failed it badly.

Ed Ingram Failed the Stern Buccaneers Test

It couldn’t have gone much worse for Ingram; an all-around poor performance was compounded by an unfortunate incident where Ingram inadvertently clawed the football out of his own quarterback’s hands. On its own, that’s not good, but on the back of twice stepping on Kirk Cousins’s foot last season, there’s a worrying trend of Ingram being involved in strange hiccups forming.

PurplePTSD: Old Viking to Dolphins, Ed Ingram Momentum, MIN-LV Winners and Losers
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.

According to Pro Football Focus, Ingram’s performance warranted an overall grade of 46.2, down considerably from the 57.1 grade he ended last season with. Instead of improvement in Week 1, we saw regression. PFF graded Ingram 57.4 for run blocking and 40.3 for pass blocking while attributing four pressures allowed for the former LSU man. Even accounting for high-quality opposition, that’s just not going to cut it. 

Cousins was the most-hit QB in the league last season, and once again this past Sunday, he spent far too much time picking himself up off the ground. Ingram wasn’t the only culprit, with only Brian O’Neill not allowing any of the 10 QB pressures the Vikings allowed. The hope of Ingram stepping up took a major knock in Week 1, so what do the Vikings do now?

What Next?

ed ingram failed
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 Vikings interior offensive line has long been the Achilles Heel of the Vikings offense. The plan put forward by Kevin O’Connell to solve the problem was continuity by going with the same group of players. After one game, that plan appears ready to be scrapped, with fans already calling for the Vikings to bring in free agent Dalton Risner. The other option is putting Blake Brandel into the starting lineup, but I don’t think either will happen on Thursday.

I don’t expect the Vikings to make drastic changes after one game, especially on a short week. Even if the Vikings did sign Risner — which I have believed all offseason they should — there’s very little time to get him in and ready to start. Brandel may be the next man up, but I would expect Ingram to get another chance. The bad news is it’s not going to get any easier.

Eagles Pose Even More Daunting Test

Unsung Young Viking
Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State offensive lineman Ed Ingram (OL21) runs the 40-yard dash during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Philadelphia Eagles added Jalen Carter to the mix with the ninth overall pick this year — to compliment the already formidable duo of the 13th overall pick last year, Jordan Davis and Fletcher Cox, who was the 12th overall pick in 2012 and has had a career that has seen him be a Super Bowl champion, All-Pro, and All-Decade team of the 2010s. The Eagles interior defensive line is a daunting task for anyone but a nightmare for the Vikings.

There may be some respite as Cox is on the injury report with a rib injury. However, Carter took the league by storm in his debut. The rookie earned a 90.5 pass-rushing grade via PFF, accounting for 8 pressures and one sack. He had an incredible 32% pass-rush win rate. The Vikings iOL just isn’t going to win one one-on-one matchups in this. The option of running the ball doesn’t look good either, as the Vikings have been as bad at creating running lanes as they have at keeping the QB clean.

Coach O’Connell and OC Wes Phillips need to find a game plan to put their offense in favorable positions. If they cannot, this game could be as brutal as last year’s meeting between these two clubs.