Will the Vikings Guard Who Loses … Start Ever Again?

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The Minnesota Vikings brought Dalton Risner back this offseason, and while it took them a considerable amount of time to do so, he would provide continuity for the offensive line. Kevin O’Connell has suggested he won’t be guaranteed a spot, though, and where he plays could have multiple ripple effects.

Will the Vikings Guard Who Loses … Start Ever Again?

Believing Kevin O’Connell’s comments suggesting that Riser, the starter Minnesota felt comfortable enough with to trade Ezra Cleveland, would need to win a spot may ring hollow. If they are to be believed, though, then he’ll have to beat out either Blake Brandel or Ed Ingram.

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Brandel should be a pretty straightforward assumption, considering it would be a new spot for him to learn on the fly. Brandel could be better served moving off the tackle position, but being a better left guard than an established veteran like Risner would be hard to believe. There’s no reason that Risner shouldn’t be expected to reclaim his former role, even with the pass-blocking deficiencies being noted.

That said, if it’s not the left side, then Risner will look to take Ed Ingram’s spot on the right side of the line. Ingram was initially the problem area for Minnesota, and why should they have been expected to be in the market for a guard at all? He trended upward as the season went on, and it would be more of a shock should he lose his role.

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Risner and Ingram have plenty to lose this season if either cannot grab a starting role. Ingram being bumped in favor of Brandel being on the other side, or Risner not beating either player out, would seem to put quite a problem into their careers. Although Risner is a veteran, he hasn’t seen his market materialize as a free agent in recent seasons. Ingram is younger but already has a shaky track record and would deal with this latest setback.

The best case scenario for Minnesota would be seeing both Risner and Ingram elevate to the best versions of themselves and really cement O’Connell’s offensive line. Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy will need to feel protected this year, and new running back Aaron Jones will want room to work.

The Dalton Risner
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Minnesota’s bookends are some of the best in the game, and the more that they can get from the interior offensive line, the better they can be expected to be.

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.