An Underrated Vikings Offseason Storyline

NCAA Football: Michigan at Minnesota
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Of course, the main topic of discussion around the Minnesota Vikings 2024 offseason was the seemingly never-ending saga of a potential Kirk Cousins extension to lock him up for what would likely be the rest of his playing career.

Since that didn’t happen, the talks of drafting a rookie quarterback swiftly took the place of the Cousins speculation. This is all completely understandable, considering quarterback is the most important position in sports.

There has also been the storyline around Justin Jefferson and his contract extension, which, after some rather mind-numbing theories from Bengals Twitter about him re-joining forces with former LSU teammates Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase (whom he did win a national championship with), a deal between the Vikings and Justin Jefferson seems imminent.

While everyone seems to agree that Minnesota is also in need of young defensive talent to go along with the likes of Ivan Pace Jr., Josh Metellus, and Mekhi Blackmon, not many people have discussed another area of need for the Minnesota Vikings: the interior offensive line. 

The Underrated Storyline of the Vikings Offseason

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell reacts during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Most notably, Dalton Risner remains a free agent as we are over a month past the beginning of true free agency, and it seems as if Minnesota hasn’t even offered him a deal.

The Vikings did bring back lineman Blake Brandel on a 3-year/$11.25 million dollar deal as well as fellow lineman David Quessenberry for one year with a value of $2 million. Brandel spent time filling in at right guard this past season, and Quessenberry is more of a dedicated swing-tackle. Minnesota also went on to sign guard/center Dan Feeney for a little bit more depth inside.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Blake Brandel (64) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

With the lack of a Risner extension or some other free agent signing to this point, it does seem as if Blake Brandel is a shoe-in to be the starting left guard on opening day of the 2024 season for the Vikings, given the size of his contract extension.

The rest of the line appears to be the same. However, there were rumblings earlier this offseason about center Garrett Bradbury being a surprise cut candidate. These rumors were quite peculiar, considering that the former NC State lineman signed a three-year extension just last offseason. With Bradbury getting more guaranteed money to his deal earlier this spring, that seems unlikely to happen.

Funny enough, even after all of his controversial play (among other alleged off-field controversies), right guard Ed Ingram seems to be the interior offensive lineman with the most certainty regarding his status on the team. Ingram’s rocky start to his career has made the connotation of his name an uncertain one, but he is one of the better run blockers on the line while being a slightly below-average pass blocker.

Vikings Offseason
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) defends against Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Vernon Butler (94) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it’s just because Vikings fans are used to having uncertainty on the interior of the offensive line compounded with the Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins storylines, but Minnesota still has plenty of question marks in that position group.

Even with the handful of extensions and depth signings that the front office transacted this offseason, it still would not be a bad idea to add even more competition to that room with the 2024 NFL Draft beginning on Thursday night.