Vikings Lineman Done for 2023 Season
The Minnesota Vikings were defeated in their first two games of the 2023 campaign. Both losses can be attributed to the lack of discipline. Fumbling the ball six times in two contests is unacceptable. 0-2 is no longer a death sentence for a season since the league expanded the schedule to a 17th game but the Vikings must get back on track sooner rather than later.
Vikings Lineman Done for 2023 Season
In addition to the frustrating losses, injuries are starting to pile up, so the mini-bye week comes at the right time. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw missed the Week 2 game with an ankle injury and edge rusher Marcus Davenport missed Week 1 and barely played against the Eagles. Center Garrett Bradbury exited against the Buccaneers on Sunday with a new back injury, something that kept him out of a handful of games in 2022.
Those three guys should be back on the field soon but one guy is out for the season. Backup offensive tackle Oli Udoh will miss the remainder of the 2023 season with a quad injury, according to head coach Kevin O’Connell.
Udoh was carted off in Philadelphia and it immediately looked like a serious injury. His teammates and coaches tried to comfort him but his season is over.
The left tackle stepped in for the injured Darrisaw. Last season, he replaced injured right tackle Brian O’Neill and did a decent job of protecting Kirk Cousins’ right side. Udoh was a sixth-round pick in 2019 coming out of Elon University and has outperformed the expectations of a sixth-rounder.
The small school prospect was a bet on potential, as he is a large human being with intriguing measurements, especially the long arms are rare. Listed at 6’6″ and 320 lbs, Udoh made the team in his rookie season. He appeared in one game in 2019 and went up against star edge rusher Khalil Mack, followed by six appearances in 2020. The lineman logged 35 combined snaps on offense and 27 on special teams through his first couple of seasons.
His breakthrough came in 2021 when the Vikings moved him to right guard, a strange move because of his long arms and because he had never played guard before. He started 16 games and played over 1,000 snaps but he predictably struggled at his new position. When the new regime was hired, they moved him back to tackle where he became the backup right tackle.
Once O’Neill went down, it was Udoh who handled the right tackle duties and he did a solid job. As a pending free agent, the Vikings re-signed him. Although he had some struggling performances in the preseason, the Vikings kept him as the top backup tackle and traded sophomore Vederian Lowe away.
Now that he is out for the season, the Vikings have only a trio of tackles left. Behind the starter duo, the franchise employs David Quessenberry, a veteran in the NFL and a versatile player. In addition to him, the Vikings roster Blake Brandel who was moved to guard but started his career as a tackle. He could certainly be an emergency backup at that position.
Regardless, the Vikings are not one lineman short and will likely add someone through free agency or elevate one of their guys from the practice squad.
Udoh is 26 years old and will hit free agency next offseason. The purple team will be without one of its top backups for the remaining 15 regular season games.
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