It’s Not as It Appears for Vikings at OG, Right?

Unsung Viking
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The Minnesota Vikings have made only one significant move regarding the offensive line this offseason, and Blake Brandel’s return has been that. Is Kwesi Adofo-Mensah really going to start the season with a new quarterback while asking a left tackle to step in at guard?

It’s Not as It Appears for Vikings at OG, Right?

We have seen Blake Brandel play the bookend role for Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill over the last three seasons. He has worked fine in a pinch and has drawn five starts over the past two seasons. Most of his snaps have come at the tackle position, which makes sense because it would be what he describes as home. With Dalton Risner still unsigned and the Vikings yet to make a move at the guard position, it seems as though Brandel could slide in and be tasked with making that work.

Vikings Free Agency
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Last year, it was performance issues early on from Ed Ingram that necessitated the signing of Risner. He was a trusted veteran who had fared well during his time in the NFL, and he came in and competed out of the gate for the Vikings. Ultimately, Ingram stepped up while Ezra Cleveland was overtaken, and Risner worked his way into a starting role. When Cleveland was dealt at the deadline, it seemed that the Vikings would find a way to establish continuity with their newly signed free agent. Surprisingly, though, that hasn’t been the case.

Risner remains on the open market, and it doesn’t seem like he has gotten any offers of his liking to this point. Maybe Minnesota will pivot in a different direction, but it would seem curious if they simply plugged Brandel into the role. Risner had inefficiencies when it came to run blocking, but he also logged significant time at the position. Expecting Brandel to perform virtually out of nowhere would seem lofty at best.

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There’s also the reality that Minnesota’s skill position players have turned over in some key positions. Sam Darnold will start the year at quarterback, and then a rookie may take over. Aaron Jones is a much better bet to succeed than Alexander Mattison was last year, but doing so without a competent line is a big ask. The Vikings left Kirk Cousins to get destroyed for years before building the group in front of him, and leaving a hole there again would be odd.

Multiple options at guard remain on the free agent market, and Minnesota could look to add someone with one of their later-round draft picks. Not addressing the position in any capacity besides retaining a backup tackle would be a weird decision, but that’s where things currently stand.

Drops One Hint
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It seems unlikely that Brandel is the answer to replace Risner, but there are no other options right now.

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.