Vikings Made the Naughty List for One Offseason Signing

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The Minnesota Vikings offseason remains a work in progress, with the 2024 NFL Draft nine days away.

Vikings Made the Naughty List for One Offseason Signing

But without seeing the full picture, Bleacher Report decided this week that Minnesota owns one of the NFL’s worst offseason signings — left guard Blake Brandel.

Vikings Free Agency
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It is unclear if Brandel will morph into the Vikings’ LG solution, but without incumbent lineman Dalton Risner back — he’s still a free agent — and limited draft capital after Round 1, many believe Brandel is on tap to start in September.

And Bleacher Report is unimpressed. “If the season began today, Minnesota would start Blake Brandel, who’s given up more sacks (8) than he’s had starts (5) in his young career. A sixth-rounder from Oregon State in 2020, it took until Week 14 last fall for Brandel to make his first appearance of the campaign. In three appearances at right guard, Brandel allowed a sack, five hurries and eight pressures in limited work,” BR’s Ryan Fowler wrote.

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Brandel signed a three-year, $9.5 million deal in March, an indicator he could indeed start in 2024. Then, when Risner wasn’t welcomed back, well, theories ran rampant that Brandel was “the guy” at left guard.

Fowler continued, “The year prior, Brandel seesawed from a rotational piece to starter snaps, yet he yielded seven sacks, five hurries and 13 pressures in just three starts. A lot can and will change as rosters continue to evolve throughout the spring and summer, but the Vikings have questions to figure out when it comes to who ultimately starts at left guard.”

Meanwhile, Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling told KFAN in March, “The money they gave Brandel, specifically the years, did make me wonder if he’s going to get that chance to start … the fact they gave him a three-year deal, that’s not something you just do because you have too. I don’t think his market would have been that hot … I do think there’s a chance that he will get an opportunity to compete for that spot.”

So, the Brandel-as-a-starter fodder doesn’t seem out of left field.

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Brandel produced a 55.3 Pro Football Focus grade last year on 163 offensive snaps after the Vikings coaching staff moved him from tackle to guard. Truth be told, that score isn’t very promising, so Vikings fans will hope for improvement if Brandel is indeed tapped for starter’s duty. Just when the club had the guard spot fixed — it was a problem for years — some are paranoid that Minnesota could slide back to half-measured solutions.

On Risner, Adofo-Mensah talked about this status on the same KFAN network about a month ago. The young executive said, “Where we’ve wanted to be is best available. That’s where we’ve tried to set ourselves up both in a draft and acquisition standpoint. So every option is on the table. That’s all I can say about that.”

Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Dalton Risner: “We All Know We Have A Great Culture But We Came Up Short This Season.”

Naturally, most considered those words to indicate that Risner won’t return in purple. And let it be known that Bleacher Report isn’t enthused by Brandel.

Fowler also disliked the Chicago Bears’ acquisition of running back D’Andre Swift and EGDE rusher Jadeveon Clowney to the Carolina Panthers, among other examples.


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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