More Good News on Vikings RT Brian O’Neill

Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Minnesota Vikings tackle Brian O'Neill (75) during NFC practice for the Pro Bowl at Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday afternoon, the Vikings saw two players leave practice because of injuries. CB Andrew Booth left with the help of a trainer while WR Trishton Jackson had to be carted off the field.

While Booth and Jackson both suffered injuries, there was more good news regarding a different injured Viking: RT Brian O’Neill.

During yesterday’s practice session, the Vikings right tackle was spotted wearing pads for the first time since he suffered his partially torn Achilles during Week 17 of the 2022 season. Kevin Seifert of ESPN tweeted a video of O’Neill at practice on Tuesday with the caption “Brian O’Neill has upped his Achilles rehab to the point where he is wearing shoulder pads as he ramps up.”

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Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

This news comes just about a week after head coach Kevin O’Connell announced that O’Neill would not start the 2023 training camp period on the PUP list. The Vikings head coach also added that the right tackle continues to target Week 1 as his return to the field.

O’Neill was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Vikings, and virtually ever since then, he has been the starting right tackle for the team. He started 11 games during his rookie season after beginning the 2018 season as a reserve. He has started at least 15 games in each of the past four seasons from 2019-2022.

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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)

The right tackle saw major growth during both the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and as a result, he was signed to a massive five-year extension worth $90 million with $53.5 million guaranteed. In his fourth NFL season during 2021, O’Neill was named to his first Pro Bowl.

It was his strongest season yet in terms of pass protection, allowing just 22 pressures over 695 pass-blocking snaps. O’Neill proved to be just as great during 2022, but the injury in Week 17 against the Packers knocked him out for the remainder of the season.

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Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) and Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) in action at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings got very lucky in the fact that their right tackle’s injury was only a partial tear of his Achilles and not a full one. Had it been a full tear, it would be much more unlikely that he would be ready to go for the start of the season.

Should O’Neill take a bit longer with his rehab and sit out Week 1, though, Minnesota has a couple viable options at tackle, including Blake Brandel and Oli Udoh. Minnesota kicks off their regular season on September 10th with a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.