Vikings Re-Sign 2 Old Friends on Monday

Tennessee Titans center Ben Jones (60) and offensive tackle David Quessenberry (72) head onto the field before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Titans Saints 111421 Aan 013

Free agency is underway for the Minnesota Vikings and the other 31 franchises around the league. With Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter set to depart from the organization after six and nine seasons, a new era of Vikings football could arrive soon. Finding a quarterback is paramount but the the decision-makers must find some reinforcements in free agency.

Vikings Re-Sign 2 Old Friends on Monday

One of those will be pass-rusher Jonathan Greenard who will take over as the team’s top outside linebacker. He will join the Vikings which indicates Hunter will not return for a tenth season.

Vikings Re-Sign 2 Old Friends on Monday
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But not just the splash signings are important, no team can win without solid depth players who put in the work in the shadow of the stars. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has re-signed offensive linemen David Quessenberry and Blake Brandel.

The latter was a restricted free agent, the former is a veteran journeyman who will return for a second campaign in purple.

Brandel could be a candidate to start at left guard as last year’s starters Ezra Cleveland and Dalton Risner are no longer with the team. Cleveland was traded to Jacksonville where he signed a large contract while Risner will test the free agent market. A return can’t be ruled out.

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That leaves an empty spot on the offensive line between LT Christian Darrisaw and C Garrett Bradbury and Brandel has always drawn praise from his coaching staff, especially after changing position from tackle to guard last offseason. Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips offered a funny description for the lineman last September:

Blake’s just a good football player. He has shown versatility, he has shown in a pinch to jump in at tackle, but getting a lot of reps at both guard spots, he’s still working in a little at center, being able to be all those three interiors. He kind of gives you a comfort level because he does things the right way, he’s a large man inside. You like to have those big rectangular guards. You love those rectangle guys. He’s certainly one of those guys, and he loves ball. He’s had a really good camp.

In college, Brandel was a staple of Oregon State, starting 48 consecutive games at left and right tackle. He was considered a depth tackle or perhaps a guard at some point after putting on mass. And that is exactly how his career is trending.

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The Oregon native has already exceeded expectations of a sixth-rounder as a solid backup swing tackle. Brandel replaced Christian Darrisaw in the starting lineup when he was forced to miss time with a couple of concussions in 2022.

His versatility is a huge bonus, in addition to his solid blocking skills. Brandel can play both tackle and guard spots and is getting some work as center. He was a downgrade from Darrisaw but still looked like a fine backup in his place.

Brandel played 39 games through the last three seasons. Depending on other acquisitions, he is a candidate to earn a starting gig for the first time in his career.

Tennessee Titans offensive tackle David Quessenberry (72) takes the field to face the Colts at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. © Andrew Nelles / via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Quessenberry joined the Vikings last offseason when they needed a primary backup for Brian O’Neill. He appeared in 16 last season, starting four contests. His journey has been quite inspiring as he is a cancer survivor.

David Quessenberry is an experienced offensive tackle. The 33-year-old was a 2013 sixth-round selection of the Houston Texans, a team he stayed with until he was waived in 2018. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2014 and didn’t return to practice until 2017. Quessenberry appeared in two games for the Texans in 2017.

His next stint led him to the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans, where he spent the 2018 season and played in 33 games for his new team in the following three seasons. He also caught a receiving touchdown in 2019 from Marcus Mariota on a trick play.

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In 2022, Quessenberry signed with the Buffalo Bills and played 16 games. Throughout his career, the offensive lineman played in 67 games, starting 30 contests.

The Vikings now have nine offensive linemen under contract. There will be some more added in the next couple of months.

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