No News Is Good News for 1 Vikings Star

Vikings Place 2 Players on IR, Sign 2 New
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Monday was a busy day in the Vikings universe. The team waived Malik Knowles with an injury designation, placed Chris Reed on the NFI list, Andre Carter II on the PUP list, and signed three new players — tight end Colin Thompson, offensive tackle Bobby Evans, and offensive guard Jack Snyder. With everyone in the building starting Tuesday, training camp is underway.

No News Is Good News for 1 Vikings Star

No News Is Good News For 1 Vikings Star
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings placed various players on different lists, but it was quiet around one specific athlete — Brian O’Neill. The offensive tackle suffered a partially torn Achilles tendon in the Week 17 contest against the Green Bay Packers. Less than seven months later, O’Neill is apparently back at full strength.

If his injury still hampered him, the Vikings could’ve easily put him on the physically unable-to-perform list. That designation is different from, for example, the injury reserve list during the season on which a player has to miss some games. Teams can activate players from the PUP list at any time.

Bad News Gets Even
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The Vikings get their stalwart right tackle back. He missed only two full games and parts of the Packers game after his injury. Oli Udoh replaced him in the starting lineup and actually did a decent job. Of course, Udoh is not a Pro Bowl-caliber player but has shown to be a fine backup.

That’s why it came as a surprise when Kwesi Adofo-Mensah managed to re-sign Udoh as a backup, and no other team tried to bring him in to be their right tackle in a league filled with struggling offensive lines.

O’Neill was a second-round pick out of Pittsburgh in 2018, and many expected him to fail. He was viewed as a massive project coming out of college as he only weighed 297 lbs, and it was supposed to take years for him to become a solid player. However, the right tackle had outstanding movement skills and showed solid blocking capability early in his career, and those folks were quickly proven wrong.

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He began his first season behind Rashod Hill, who started at right tackle. Once Hill got hurt in Week 2 against the Packers, O’Neill got some run on offense in the following weeks as an immediate upgrade. His first start came in Week 6 of his rookie campaign, and he never gave the position back.

The 27-year-old has played in 79 NFL games, including 75 starts. O’Neill didn’t miss a single game with an injury before he had to leave the Packers game last season. The only contest he didn’t play was in the final game of the 2019 season when the Vikings had already clinched their postseason berth and played with a group of backups against the Bears.

O’Neill’s solid play year in and year out was honored with his first trip to the Pro Bowl after the 2021 season. He now forms one of the elite offensive tackle duos in the league with Christian Darrisaw, and Kirk Cousins must be delighted to have his right tackle back.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt