PFF Suggests 1 Final Move the Vikings Should Pursue This Offseason

Oct 4, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Darius Philon (96) battles against Los Angeles Chargers offensive guard Oday Aboushi (76) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have had a rather busy offseason, and the 2023 roster looks rather different than the 2022 roster did. Multiple veterans are out, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and in their stead, a number of unproven youngsters will look to prove themselves.

However, one area of the team that looks virtually identical to the group from a year ago is at the offensive line. All five starters look to remain the same for the first time since Kirk Cousins joined the team. However, Pro Football Focus has offered up one final move the Vikings should pursue before the 2023 season.

PFF’s Suggests 1 Final Move for the Vikings

1 Final Move
Oct 4, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Darius Philon (96) battles against Los Angeles Chargers offensive guard Oday Aboushi (76) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

This suggestion comes from Brad Spielberger, and he actually offered moves for all 32 teams in this piece. It’s worth a read if you’re interested in other teams across the league, so go check it out when you’re done here. As for the Vikings, though, Spielberger believes Minnesota should bolster their interior offensive line by signing former Los Angeles Charger Oday Aboushi. Here is what he had to say of the potential move:

Minnesota was able to secure one of the top wide receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft even after standing pat at No. 23 overall, bringing aboard USC product Jordan Addison, who could be the No. 2 wide receiver on the depth chart as early as Week 1. Question marks remain in their secondary and on the interior of the defensive line, but not due to a lack of recent draft picks and free-agent additions, so they probably just need to let things play out on a new-look defense.

At guard, 2020 second-round pick Ezra Cleveland is entering a contract year, and 2022 second-round pick Ed Ingram earned a 44.4 pass-blocking grade as a rookie that ranked 66th out of 71 guards with at least 250 pass-blocking snaps. Aboushi has been reliable depth at either guard spot everywhere he goes, most recently with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell’s former team in the Los Angeles Rams in 2022. Aboushi has three straight seasons earning grades above 65.0, with grades of at least 60.0 as a pass blocker and a run blocker each year.

Detroit Lions offensive lineman Oday Aboushi (76) during a NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 in Landover, Md. (Detroit Lions via AP). 8

Aboushi, a former fifth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has seen just about everything over the course of his decade in the NFL. He’s played with seven teams, most recently spending the 2022 season with the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

The interior offensive lineman is plenty capable of playing at either guard spot as well, offering some versatility. He began his career largely playing at left guard for the Jets, but in recent years, he has played 250+ snaps at right guard in six of the past seven seasons since 2016.

As for Aboushi’s fit with Minnesota, it’s great that the Vikings are going to have consistency on the offensive line this year, but there are a couple concerns with the type of consistency Minnesota has. Firstly, as Spielberger points out, particularly with Ed Ingram, there were a lot of bumps in the road throughout the 2022 season.

The 2022 second-round pick had a few atrocious moments in pass-protection last year. Perhaps these boil down to inexperience and having a full offseason to fully nail down the offense will help him, but what if these troubles remain in year two? An added veteran in the room would be an extra security blanket just in case.

Additionally, we have to keep in mind that the Vikings really ripped through their o-line depth last season because of injuries. All of Garrett Bradbury, Blake Brandel, Christian Darrisaw, Brian O’Neill, and Austin Schlottmann suffered significant injuries that held them out for at least a couple games.

7 Wild and Crazy
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ezra Cleveland (72) on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

By the end of the season, Minnesota was scraping the bottom of the barrel for offensive line depth, and if either Ezra Cleveland or Ingram had suffered an injury, the Vikings would have been flirting with disaster.

Health in the NFL can be a fickle thing. Perhaps the Vikings can get better health luck in 2023, but is that really something we want to bank on in a game as violent as football? Adding a versatile player with Aboushi’s skillset gives the Vikings another body that they can feel comfortable throwing onto the field if things get iffy in that regard yet again.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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