What to Expect from Ed Ingram in Year 2?

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The Minnesota Vikings interior offensive line continues to be a source of concern. They’ll hope the answer at right guard is already in place, but what to expect from Ed Ingram in Year 2? The offensive guard found it difficult to acclimatize to the pro game but did show signs of improvement as the season went on. Can he build on that in his second season?

What to Expect from Ed Ingram in Year 2?

It was a challenging first year for the Vikings rookie class of 2022, with injury and lack of opportunity limiting opportunities for many. That wasn’t the case for Ingram, who started every game for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022. An impressive achievement for any rookie, and while it was anything but plain sailing for LSU alumnus,, he showed enough to expect the Vikings to persevere with him at right guard for another year at least. 

How Year 1 Went

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The Vikings drafted Ingram in the second round with the 59th overall pick. You draft IOL in that range expecting them to be starters, and so it proved as Ingram beat out veteran free agency signing Jesse Davis for the starting right guard role. It was a baptism of fire for Ingram as life in the NFL proved challenging. The first half of the season was particularly rough, especially in pass protection. However, he showed improvement in the second half of the season, which is what you want from a rookie.

Pro Football Focus gave him an overall grade of 57.1, which was higher than Oli Udoh (54.4) managed last season as the regular starter at right guard. Ingram’s run-blocking grade of 63.4 was fair, while his pass-blocking grade of 44.4 is where clear improvement is needed. The good news is the improvement has started; Ingram had a pass-blocking grade of 38.4 through weeks 1-9 but improved dramatically to 58.7 through weeks 10-18. If it weren’t for an incredibly rough day in Detroit, it would have been over 60 — a respectable number for a rookie. 

Ingram vs. Other Rookies

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According to PFF, Ingram allowed 58 total pressures, 18 hits, and 11 sacks (most in the league for a guard) while penalized four times. Those numbers all need to come down in Year 2; however, if you take into context Ingram was a rookie and compare him with the best rookies at his position last year, it shows he held up respectfully. The two guards voted to the PFWA All-Rookie Team were Zion Johnson (PFF grade — 64.8) and Dylan Parham (PFF grade — 61.9), both of whom found life in pass protection difficult.

Johnson’s statsheet reads 40 pressures allowed, 7 hits, 5 sacks, and 6 penalties. As the 17th overall pick of last year’s draft, it’s not a surprise the LA Charger was the best rookie guard. He wasn’t an option for Minnesota unless they took him at 14, which never seemed on the radar. Parham was available when the Vikings selected Ingram and still available when the Vikings took Brian Asamoah in the third. The Las Vegas Raiders took him with the 90th overall pick.

In hindsight, would Parham have been the better pick? His statline for 2022 reads 55 pressures allowed, 9 hits, 6 sacks, and 5 penalties. It’s too early to make that claim; both players allowed almost the same number of pressures while nearly double the number of times it resulted in a hit or sack for Ingram. While Ingram improved during the season, Parham struggled with some of his worst pass-blocking games in the closing weeks.

Trajectory

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The step up to the professional ranks is difficult for offensive linemen. NFL defenders are bigger, stronger, and faster than they will have seen weekly in college. Ingram needs to come back for Year 2 and continue his improvement. He could benefit from coming back bigger and stronger in pursuit of finding a way to stand up to the league’s mammoth interior pass rushers. It’s not a problem exclusively for Ingram, as the league’s interior defensive linemen seem to get bigger and more athletic.

He can also work on refining his technique, with avoiding stepping on his quarterback’s feet being something to improve. He did that a mind-boggling three times last season. It seems like Ingram will again be joined by Ezra Cleveland and Garrett Bradbury in the middle of the Vikings offensive line. It’s an area the Vikings need to see improvement, and they seem to be content they can get it from the incumbent players rather than a major revamp. At this point, I’m not sure how much better Bradbury and Cleveland will get. They are solid starters and not much more. 

Ingram is the one who has the most room to grow as a player, but how far can he go? Become a solid starter like his teammates, or can he be more than that? For starters, a solid starter will do, but the Vikings need more from their second-round pick. I’m hopeful Ingram will continue to improve and can make that right guard position his own. If there isn’t any improvement, the Vikings will need to think again. 

The ball is in Ingram’s court; can he produce in Year 2?


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