Questions Answered: Worst Game on the Vikings’ Schedule, Blake Brandel’s Upside, Akayleb Evans

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by VikingsTerritory. Today is the May 23rd edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Questions Answered: Worst Game on the Vikings’ Schedule, Blake Brandel’s Upside, Akayleb Evans

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

Different Story
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Q: What’s the worst game on the Vikings’ schedule for 2024?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports | Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports.

Answer: This one is tricky. Worst for winnability? Probably the Week 2 game versus the San Francisco 49ers. Worst for entertainment value? Maybe the Arizona Cardinals at home.

It’s severely unlikely that the Vikings will knock off a powerhouse like the 49ers twice in two years. Put plainly, San Francisco is a phenomenal team, and Minnesota won last year because Kirk Cousins played the game of his life. Now, Cousins works elsewhere. There’s also a chance that Kevin O’Connell’s team is 0-1 heading into this matchup. Avoiding a winless start to the season versus Kyle Shanahan and Co. sounds like a rotten assignment.

As for the Cardinals, well, there just aren’t many storylines in that game, at least not many in May. Both games will be entertaining, but those are our choices this far out.

Q: Do you believe Blake Brandel can develop into a solid left guard?

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports.

Answer: Yes.

O’Connell transformed Minnesota’s offensive line from about eighth-worst leaguewide during the end of the Mike Zimmer era to about 12th-best in the last two seasons. He deserves the benefit of the doubt regarding offensive line solutions.

Listen, players blossom. Brandel could be the next guy. If O’Connell and his staff trust Brandel as Dalton Risner’s replacement, we think it can work. The club probably wouldn’t willingly start someone awful and perform self-sabotage.

Q: Is Akayleb Evans going to get cut later this summer?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

A: We say no.

Evans was curiously benched a couple of times in 2023, so those are strikes against him if he ends up on the roster bubble. But the man is still young, and the Vikings don’t have totally gangbuster cornerbacks on the roster. They have several decent ones.

It won’t be incredibly weird if Evans is cut, but we’d wager on him making the 53-man roster. It’s only Year No. 3 for him.

We think the CB room can look like this:

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Shaquill Griffin
CB3: Mekhi Blackmon
CB4: Akayleb Evans
CB5: Andrew Booth
CB6: Khyree Jackson

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by