Dalton Risner to Compete. Really?

Starting OG
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

All offseason, it seemed like Dalton Risner and the Minnesota Vikings were on a collision course. Having gone through a frustrating free-agent period the year prior, he was again locked in a similar situation. The dance ended with the expected outcome, but is he really coming back without a starting job?

Dalton Risner to Compete. Really?

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings sent Ezra Cleveland to the Jacksonville Jaguars after Dalton Risner came in and took his job. The left guard spot was shored up, and Christian Darrisaw had a line mate. The Vikings have openly operated this offseason as though former backup tackle Blake Brandel would take over that role. Despite having never previously played guard, the less demanding spot could elevate his career.

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With Risner back in the fold, it seems pretty straightforward to suggest he’d get his job back, but Kevin O’Connell isn’t ready to make that claim. Risner was solid in pass protection a season ago but left something to be desired regarding run blocking. If there’s an opportunity for him to improve, it’s there. In that vein of thinking, the Minnesota head coach is looking at evaluating the competition.

On the opposite side of the line, Ed Ingram has experienced something of a roller coaster during his career thus far. He has been close to being benched, as it was initially thought that Risner could usurp his spot on the line prior to a string of solid performances just prior to the signing. Still developing and working towards a higher production level, maybe that’s where the competition lies.

dalton risner
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Of course, Brandel and Ingram play different positions, but which one struggles the most in the lead-up to the season should be where Risner can factor in. The veteran has a strong ability on either side of the line, and the lesser of either incumbent would be boosted by simply putting the retained free agent in that spot. O’Connell wants his guys to compete, and Risner has stuff to work on, but he may be watching a pair of teammates fight for one spot with the other already being ticketed for himself.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.