Vikings Offensive Line Reinforcement Arrives

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Free agency is ongoing as Kwesi Adofo-Mensah shows the necessary urgency and aggressiveness to improve the team. The general manager facilitated a trade with the Houston Texans to secure another first-round draft choice in April’s event which will undoubtedly be used to acquire a quarterback, Kirk Cousins’ successor.

Vikings Offensive Line Reinforcement Arrives

Vikings Offensive Line Reinforcement Arrives
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Not only his actions on the trade market have been aggressive, but so have his moves in free agency. While the staples Cousins and Danielle Hunter departed from the organization, he has already acquired a bunch of starters, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Blake Cashman will contribute significantly.

The offense’s cornerstones have remained with the team besides the crucial quarterback. Aaron Jones will be an upgrade in the backfield. K.J. Osborn has been replaced by veteran depth players Trent Sherfield and Brandon Powell although adding another receiver is still an option.

The Dalton Risner
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On the offensive line, starter Dalton Risner is unsigned. Similarly to last offseason, the interest in the solid left guard is underwhelming. Blake Brandel returns and might take over the left guard duties. In terms of depth, the Vikings have lost backup interior options Austin Schlottmann and Chris Reed.

To replace them, Minnesota has added Dan Feeney who possesses experience playing guard and center.

The Indiana product was a highly-touted prospect out of college and ended up as a third-round draft choice in 2017. He spent the entirety of his rookie contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.

After logging nine starts as a rookie, Feeney was a full-time starter in the following three seasons. Once his rookie deal expired, the lineman joined the New York Jets for two seasons before heading to the Chicago Bears. Since his days in Los Angeles, he has primarily been a backup.

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Throughout his seven-year career, Feeney has started 65 of 112 games. According to Pro Football Focus, the veteran has already logged 2,596 career snaps at left guard, 1,502 at center, and 125 at right guard. Having that kind of versatility is extremely important for a replacement lineman because he can slip into the lineup at all interior spots.

The grading company hasn’t been a big fan of Feeney since his debut season. The only time he received a higher offensive grade than 52 (which is bad) besides his first game action in 2017 was in 2021 when he played less than 200 snaps. He is a superior pass-blocker compared to the running game which is quite the change compared to the preferences of the previous regime in Minnesota.

Sam Darnold
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It is unclear who the offensive line will ultimately protect in 2024 and beyond, for now, it is Sam Darnold on paper. Also undefined is the identity of the left guard but the other four positions should stay in place, highlighted by the two excellent offensive tackles Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill. At right guard, Ed Ingram showed improvement last season and center Garrett Bradbury has been solid in the last couple of seasons after struggling in the previous seasons.

It remains to be seen if Feeney is envisioned to be competing for the final starting gig or if he is a backup for someone else. If training camp started today, either Brandel or Feeney would be getting reps with the first-team offense.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt