Tuesday was the first day of mandatory minicamp for the Minnesota Vikings, and one of the more intriguing position groups to watch, especially now that actual practices have begun, is the Vikings o-line. Coach Chris Kuper spent some time discussing where the group is at. Here are the main points that he hit on, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
The RG Battle
The most important position battle on the entire Vikings roster this training camp is the one that will determine the starting right guard. It is a position that has been a liability for the Vikings for the past few years. Finding a quality player here could take some serious pressure off Garrett Bradbury, or whoever ends up playing at center.
As far as this battle goes, Kuper mainly discussed the two veterans on the team: Jesse Davis and Chris Reed, citing that “they’ve both played a lot of football”. If I were to take a guess, I’d say Jesse Davis will be the starter Week 1, but Kuper was clear in saying that “everyone will get a chance”, and that includes the young guys like Wyatt Davis and Ed Ingram.
High Hopes for Christian Darrisaw
Oftentimes, NFL rookies get put through the ringer during their first professional season. These tough times lead the way towards greater success in the future. These hurdles were definitely present during left tackle Christian Darrisaw’s 2021 season, but Kuper has some high hopes for him during the sophomore campaign.
If Darrisaw is truly good enough to avoid having a “ceiling” put on his potential, that will provide the Vikings o-line with a duo of terrifically talented tackles to bookend their pass protection. Giving Kirk Cousins more time to throw will be important in 2022, and Darrisaw will be the key to that.
Where Things Stand at Center
Garrett Bradbury has been the scapegoat for a lot of the Vikings o-line struggles, and a lot of it is warranted. However, as aforementioned, an improvement at the guard could take a lot of pressure off of him in 2022. Kevin O’Connell has spoken highly of him ahead of his contract season, and there is a good chance he retains that starting center spot.
Chris Kuper echoed this sentiment in a lot of ways, saying that Bradbury has taken every snap with the ones to this point. However, there will be a competition at this position as well, including players like Reed, Davis, and Austin Schlottman. I wouldn’t leave Wyatt Davis too far removed from the conversation, either.