One Viking Makes PFF’s Top-32 Offensive Tackles List

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Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O'Neill (75) readies at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Bears defeated the Vikings 33-27. (AP Photo/David Berding)

There’s no doubt the Minnesota Vikings have a young, promising core of offensive linemen currently in their system. Between Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill at tackle, as well as Ezra Cleveland, Wyatt Davis, and Ed Ingram at guard, there is reason to believe the Vikings offensive line woes may soon be over.

Pro Football Focus seems to believe they are still a year or two away, though. Every year, the site puts out top player lists at each position, and heading into the 2022 season, only one of the Vikings starting tackles have made the top-32.

Of course, that player is Brian O’Neill who checks in at the No. 26 spot on the list. He found himself sandwiched between Jake Matthews of the Atlanta Falcons and Rob Havenstein of the Los Angeles Rams. Meanwhile, Christian Darrisaw was apparently not quite up to snuff to make the list, or even be among the honorable mentions.

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There were a pair of rookies that did make the list based on their 2021 performances. Those players were Rashawn Slater, who landed at No. 9, and Penei Sewell at No. 19. The list is categorized into different tiers as well, with Slater in a tier all his own named “Bordering on Elite as a Rookie” and Sewell being categorized as “Young Tackles Trending in the Right Direction”.

O’Neill’s categorization on the list is much simpler. He is simply a “Good Starter” according to PFF‘s Ben Linsley, who wrote the rankings. Interestingly enough, his overall grade actually took a step down in 2021 from 2020. His grade of 73.4 was nearly five points down from 2020’s 78.0. This is despite allowing fewer sacks and having less penalties called against him during the most recent campaign. Overall, though, this seems like a fair for O’Neill, especially given that he plays the less valuable tackle position in the Vikings lineup.

As for Darrisaw missing the list entirely, this should have been expected. The only two rookies on the list were the aforementioned Slater and Sewell, and each of them recorded 16 starts. Meanwhile, Darrisaw played in just 12 games and started 10 since his first season was put on hold for the first month due to injury. Year Two should be the time for the former first-round pick to shine though. Only time will tell if he is worthy of making the list in 2023.

If the duo does in fact pull this off in 2023, it will put the Vikings offensive line in an elite group. Only the Packers, Buccaneers, Eagles, 49ers, and Lions have two players on the 2022 list, and the first four teams listed made the playoffs in 2021.