Vikings Have a Top Roster Duo — And It’s Not WR

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE.

On the franchise billboard, Minnesota Vikings wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison may headline the enterprise, but Pro Football Focus has a bit of advice — don’t forget about the offensive tackles.

Vikings Have a Top Roster Duo — And It’s Not WR

PFF ranked the league’s top 32 OTs this week, and Minnesota was well-represented. Christian Darrisaw made the cut, along with right tackle Brian O’Neill, a Viking since 2018.

Roster
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Darrisaw checked in at No. 4, and PFF’s Zoltan Buday explained, “Darrisaw enjoyed an elite 2022 season in which he earned a 90.4 overall grade, which ranked second at the position. However, injuries slowed him down and forced him to miss time in 2023. As a result, his overall grade declined to 82.4, though his 85.3 pass-blocking grade was still good for third.”

Minnesota scooped Darrisaw from the 2021 NFL Draft, and the ensuing product has manufactured magnificent results. From the days of Bryant McKinnie (2002-2010) until Darrisaw’s addition to the depth chart — so about a decade — the Vikings lacked a franchise left tackle, auditioning a few in 10 years that didn’t quite live up to the McKinnie standard or that of Darrisaw.

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But that changed in April 2021, as Darrisaw consistently ranks as a Top 5 left tackle, regardless of the metric. The only thing missing from his blossoming resume is a Pro Bowl appearance. Darrisaw has encountered snubs for three consecutive years.

Darrisaw’s contract talks will heat up next offseason, not unlike his teammate Justin Jefferson’s at the moment.

For O’Neill. the veteran trenchman placed at No. 23 on the PFF list. Bulday defended the ranking, “O’Neill was slowed down by injuries in 2023 and was not able to replicate his amazing 2022 season, but he still put together a solid campaign. He finished top-25 in both pass-blocking and run-blocking grades and was just one of 15 players at the position to earn 70.0-plus grades in both facets of the game.”

Christian Darrisaw's Return Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think
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O’Neill joined the purple team in 2018, and though many believe he’d need time to mature and develop, the Pittsburgh alumnus was good to go as a rookie. Even during a dark era of offensive line performance from 2018 to 2021, O’Neill shined and was a saving grace of sorts. He was compensated handsomely before the start of the 2021 campaign and, at 28 years old, remains the NFL’s sixth highest-paid right tackle heading into 2024.

The Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the other teams represented with two tackles on PFF’s Top 32 OT list.

Significant Week 18
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Vikings mandatory minicamp kicks off next week.


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 Vikings 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 OverTheCap.com.

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