Vikings Star on Pace to Be Snubbed Again

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In previous seasons, the offensive line was a large reason for disappointing season results. For most of a decade, the Vikings employed one of the worst lines in the NFL, always putting their quarterbacks in jeopardy.

Vikings Star on Pace to Be Snubbed Again

But 2023 is different as the returning line from a season ago, outside of the midseason change to Dalton Risner at left guard, has been a pleasant surprise.

Vikings Star on Pace to Be Snubbed Again
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Throughout the offseason, the front office was criticized for keeping the same five guys in position without adding some competition. Twelve games into the season, they were right. The interior has drastically improved. Garrett Bradbury unexpectedly turned his career around, continuing to look great after a solid 2022 campaign, while sophomore Ed Ingram has improved to serviceable levels. The transition from Ezra Cleveland to Risner has been flawless, as both are solid players.

Because of the improved inside, the Vikes have one of the better lines in football. However, the heart and soul are the elite offensive tackles. Both Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw have fantastic seasons. O’Neill’s return from a partially torn Achilles has been wonderful, while Darrisaw continues dominating up front.

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Vikings fans know the excellence of their franchise left tackle, but he is still unknown around the league, and the Pro Bowl voting shows that. Darrisaw hasn’t cracked the top ten offensive tackles in fan votes, according to Tom Pelissero.

It would be his second snub after he wasn’t invited to make the trip to the Pro Bowl games after last season despite an incredible breakout sophomore campaign. In the 2021 draft, Rick Spielman made one of his final gifts to his franchise when he selected Darrisaw with the 23rd overall pick. Finding a true franchise left tackle is one of the hardest things to do in the age of struggling offensive lines.

Christian Darrisaw's Return Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think
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The former Virginia Tech star has been fantastic at protecting Kirk Cousins’ and Joshua Dobbs’ blind sides while dominating in the running game, producing highlight plays every week, which is rare for a lineman. His unique combination of power and mobility is fun to watch.

Injuries seem to be the only thing that can stop him, as he has missed at least two games in all three seasons in the league. However, when he is on the field, not many guys play at a higher level than the 24-year-old. PFF ranked him second in 2022 and third in 2023 among eligible offensive tackles.

Fan votes count for one-third of the Pro Bowl voting, with the other two-thirds coming from the votes of players and coaches. There’s a good chance he has caught the eye of his peers.

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Long snapper Andrew DePaola is Minnesota’s only top vote-getter of players at his position. He went to his first Pro Bowl after the 2022 season at age 35 and continues to play at a high level. Bradbury, Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, T.J. Hockenson, and C.J. Ham also rank in the top ten of their respective positions.

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