Vikings Say Goodbye to Dependable Veteran

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That’s a wrap for [former] Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Oli Udoh in purple.

Vikings Say Goodbye to Dependable Veteran

Udoh found new NFL employment on Monday, joining the hated New Orleans Saints via free agency. After five seasons in Minnesota, the veteran lineman will try on a new NFC team for size.

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The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov tweeted, “The Saints are expected to sign former Vikings G/T Oli Udoh to a 1-year deal, per source. He has 18 career starts.”

In the last seven days, Minnesota has allowed two other offensive linemen to depart: Hakeem Adeniji to the Cleveland Browns and Austin Schlottmann to the New York Giants. On the other hand, the purple team re-upped with trenchmen Blake Brandel and David Quessenberry. The free-agent verdicts are still out on starting left guard Dalton Risner and guard-center Chris Reed.

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Udoh replaced one of the elite linemen in the game when Brian O’Neill went down with an injury in Week 17 of 2022 in Green Bay. Earlier that year, Udoh wasn’t even the primary backup, as the team inserted Blake Brandel into the lineup when Christian Darrisaw missed time. However, Brandel was hurt with a torn MCL, so Udoh was the next man up. And in the three games, Udoh allowed exactly one quarterback pressure in each game, a commendable stat. But 2023, the following season, wasn’t kind to Udoh. He played two games before tearing his quad. He’ll hope to fully rebound in New Orleans.

Before 2022, Udoh’s stock was actually quite low, especially among fans. The Vikings coaching regime before Kevin O’Connell’s flipped Udoh to right guard from offensive tackle, an unnatural position for the Elon alumnus. Udoh struggled at guard and was most famous for penalties, recording the second-most in the NFL in 2021.

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However, when O’Connell came to town, he immediately swapped Udoh back to tackle, and as a backup to O’Neill, the plan emphatically worked. Here’s Udoh’s Pro Football Focus tale of the tape since joining the Vikings in the 6th Round of the 2019 NFL Draft:

  • 2019 = 53.4
  • 2020 = 60.8
  • 2021 = 54.4 (RG)
  • 2022 = 73.6
  • 2023 = 52.5 (just 45 plays)

These are the offensive tackles currently on the Saints’ roster:

  • Ryan Ramczyk
  • Trevor Penning
  • Landon Young
  • Tommy Kraemer
  • Oli Udoh

Udoh has always performed well at tackle, so his chances of latching on as a competent depth OT in New Orleans are quite good.

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The Saints also signed prominent EDGE rusher Chase Young on Monday, a splashier and more expensive deal than Udoh’s.

Minnesota is scheduled to play New Orleans again in 2026.

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