Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw Just Got More Expensive

FILE - Christian Darrisaw smiles after completing a set of offensive line drills during Virginia Tech Pro Day in Blacksburg, Va., in this Friday, March 26, 2021, file photo. Darrisaw is a possible first round pick in the NFL Draft, April 29-May 1, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Matt Gentry, File)

The Vikings plan for seasons in advance, and left tackle Christian Darrisaw should be a significant piece in the organization’s long-term strategies. He is due for a contract extension next offseason, one season after wideout Justin Jefferson is eligible to sign his new deal.

Those talks with the receiver should happen in 2023, and it’s the organization’s top priority to keep him in the building for many years, but it will be expensive. The top wideout contracts in the league belong to Tyreek Hill, with $30 million per season, and Davante Adams’s annual $28 million. However, the next man in line will always reset the market if he has similar abilities as the top guys, so Jefferson could get even more expensive than that. Similar things could happen with Darrisaw.

Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw Just Got More Expensive

Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw Just Got More Expensive
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Darrisaw came into the league as a first-round pick in 2021. He was Rick Spielman’s final top selection in his Vikings career. Interstingly, Spielman didn’t draft Darrisaw with the original Vikings pick, the 14th overall selection, and instead traded back to position 23 and still got the fantastic left tackle. Other teams helped, like the Raiders, who chose offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall selection. He only played one season for them before he was traded to the Bears.

Darrisaw missed most offseason programs, including training camp and preseason, because of a core muscle surgery. Therefore, he didn’t play in the first five contests of his rookie campaign. Rashod Hill started in his place until Darrisaw was ready to play in Week 5, and he slipped into the starting lineup in Week 6.

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Since then, Darrisaw has been a crucial part of the Vikings offense, and the Vikings will have to pay him for that. A contract extension north of $20 million a year is entirely possible. The odds for that increased after Laremy Tunsil, the left tackle of the Texans, reset the left tackle market on Sunday.

Ian Rapoport tweeted: “Texans star LT Laremy Tunsil is once again the highest-paid tackle in NFL history, securing a 3-year deal worth $75M with $50M fully guaranteed and $60M in total guarantees. The blindside protector does a true reset on the market.”

That doesn’t bode well for a cheap extension of Darrisaw’s deal next year. Tunsil is one of six offensive linemen getting more than $20 million on average per season. That includes four tackles, Trent Williams, David Bakhtiari, and Jawaan Taylor, and the two guards, Chris Lindstrom and Quenton Nelson.

Minnesota is already paying right tackle Brian O’Neill $18.5 million per season, the 9th highest-paid offensive lineman in the league.

Darrisaw is one of the top players at his position, possibly the best in 2022 other than 49ers star Williams, and it’s quite possible that we haven’t seen his ceiling yet, as he’s just 23 years old and had just one full offseason in the NFL, in which he drastically improved.

for Vikings at Bears
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The offensive tackle is a true bully in the running game. His highlight plays, unusual for an offensive lineman, actually deserve the word highlights. Defenders regularly end up on the turf, even big guys over 250 pounds. In the passing game, he’s rarely beaten, and if he does, only by top-level pass rushers.

On the downside, Darrisaw suffered two separate concussions in his second season. He must learn to keep his head out of the play to ensure himself a long career, including life-changing wealth. Backup Blake Brandel had to play 275 snaps at left tackle in his absence, which is obviously a huge downgrade.

The contract will hurt the Vikings, but the team is most likely in the market for a new QB soon, which includes the full benefits of a passer on a rookie deal and financial freedom at other positions.

If Darrisaw plays another year at his 2022 level and can stay on the field, his asking price, he will rightfully ask for a new deal in the upper echelon of left tackles. The good news is that Darrisaw still has a couple of years left on his rookie contract and potentially a fifth-year option. Possible humungous cap hits won’t begin until 2026.

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