Before training camp starts, the rankings are coming in fast and furious. The offensive tackle position is one position group that the Minnesota Vikings have been recognized for. Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill have been hailed as two of the better tackles in the league.
Darrisaw broke out in 2022, allowing only five sacks total and earning a PFF grade of 90.4, good for second among offensive tackles in the NFL. On the other side, O’Neill amassed an 82.7 PFF grade before partially tearing his Achilles on New Year’s Day against the Green Bay Packers.
Jeremy Fowler, senior national reporter for ESPN
Jeremy Fowler acquired the opinions of executives, scouts, and coaches on the top ten offensive tackles in the league. Darrisaw and O’Neill received votes, with Darrisaw ranked ninth best in the NFL. Fowler then described in-depth both players and how they received their respective rankings.
Darrisaw showed enormous potential in his second season. After missing five games as a rookie in 2021, he posted an 80.5% run block win rate in 2022, second-best among tackles in this group.
While some voters think he isn’t ready for the top 10, those who are high on him are very high.”
“Supreme talent,” an AFC executive said. “Really natural athlete. He’ll be higher on this list next year. He’s essentially still a rookie because he’s missed some time.”
O’Neill has been one of Minnesota’s most consistent players for the past three years. Before an Achilles injury shortened his 2022 season, he had started every game since the 2020 season. “When he got paid, I remember being surprised a bit, but he’s a quality starter,” an AFC exec said. “Maybe not elite, but really solid, good athletic ability, technically sound, can get out and run, a wall-and-seal type guy. Probably on the fringe of the top 10.”
Doug Farrar, writer for USA Today
While O’Neill wasn’t recognized, USA Today writer Doug Farrar ranked Darrisaw 11th in his top 11 offensive tackles ranking.
Farrar states that he would’ve liked to put Darrisaw higher but there was still a “need in development in certain areas” for the 24-year-old.
However, the fact that Darrisaw was still able to make the rankings despite these few shortcomings “says a lot about everything else Darrisaw does well,” according to Farrar.
Farrar gives specific examples, via film, of Darrisaw’s ability to take over a rep “from a power and technique perspective.” Farrar encapsulates his thoughts on Darrisaw while describing his impact on a run play against Washington:
Darrisaw also has a nice knack for “switching shoulders” against defensive linemen in the run game and sealing them off…Darrisaw still has some technique fixes to make in his game, but the arrow is pointing up.
How good are the Vikings’ tackle duo?
Other than the Philadelphia Eagles, no other team has both of their tackles recognized in these rankings.
However, having a reliable answer at both tackle positions is essential in today’s NFL. Defenses are evolving. Players can cause chaos from all over the field. Defensive coordinators are bringing pressure from all over, with an emphasis on the edge of the tackle box. Offenses must have athletic, consistent tackles to combat this threat in both the run and passing game. Minnesota does.
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