What if Blake Brandel Is HIM?

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The Minnesota Vikings had a few key areas of focus this offseason. They needed to nail down a quarterback of the future and get Justin Jefferson’s contract extension done. The first has happened, while the second remains pending. A sizable change on the line includes Blake Brandel taking over as a starter, and while that wasn’t seen, maybe we should expect it to work.

What if Blake Brandel Is HIM?

The Minnesota Vikings sought Dalton Risner’s services a season ago for their starting left guard position. With Ezra Cleveland looking to be replaced, he was ultimately traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Kevin O’Connell plugged in the free-agent guard. Now still unsigned, it doesn’t appear the Vikings are interested in Risner returning, and they have already made sure to note Brandel as his replacement.

blake brandel
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A 2020 NFL Draft pick out of Oregon State, the former Beaver has played in 39 games through the first three years of his career and has started five times. All of those reps have come at the tackle position, and working as Christian Darrisaw’s primary backup, Brandel has flashed an ability to handle his own.

Presumably, the guard position will be less demanding of him, and sliding down a spot on the line will give him a change of scenery. Brandel isn’t the biggest guy by any means, which will present some challenges, but the Vikings are hoping he can be a more effective talent in the running game. While Risner graded out well in pass protection, he failed to open up holes for the running backs last season.

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O’Connell will now have an offensive installation with recently signed free agent Aaron Jones. The former Green Bay Packers running back is looking to thrive in purple, and he’ll need an offensive line that can give him opportunities. Minnesota’s bookends are incredible, and Garrett Bradbury has stepped up in a big way as center.

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If Brandel can show the same type of development that Ed Ingram proved at right guard, the franchise will look much better for it.

Risner appeared to be a no-brainer free agent to return for Minnesota, but at this point, it seems the Vikings are all in on believing the Brandel can be the answer to their offensive line situation.

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.