Quietly, the Vikings May Have Revealed Their O-Line Plans

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Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sport.

Amidst all the chaos that was the first day of NFL legal tampering, the Minnesota Vikings re-signed two of their own players to new contracts.

Those two players both took on key depth roles for the team during 2023: Blake Brandel and David Quessenberry. Both players made multiple starts in relief of injured Vikings offensive linemen last season, and with their contract details out in the open, Minnesota may have revealed their offensive line plans for 2024.

Quietly, the Vikings May Have Revealed Their O-Line Plans

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

The easiest piece to unravel is the Quessenberry contract. He gets a straight-forward one-year deal worth a total of $1.885 million, including $1.375 million in guaranteed money as reported by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. It’s backup tackle money, so he should have the same exact role as he did in 2023.

Things get a little bit more interesting with Brandel. The versatile swing tackle received a more long-term contract, agreeing to a three-year contract worth a total of $9.5 million with $4.75 million in guarantees. Again, it was Wilson with the report.

One of the major remaining questions on the Vikings roster revolves around Minnesota’s guard position. As of now, it is unclear who will be starting at the left guard spot in 2024. The Vikings traded Ezra Cleveland halfway through the 2023 season, and Dalton Risner is a free agent.

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ezra Cleveland (72) blocks Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It does not appear that Risner has received an offer from the Vikings at this point in time, either. The great Darren Wolfson answered a fan question on social media regarding Risner’s status with the Vikings, and Wolfson replied with the following, “Well, no offer made to Risner as of this morning…”

As a result, Brandel’s longer term deal with the Vikings makes it seem as if he could be the team’s backup plan at the starting left guard spot if Risner is not in the cards. Admittedly, Brandel’s contract holds an average annual value of right around $3.17 million, which is quite low for a starting guard in today’s NFL. However, it is only slightly lower than the $4 million contract that the Vikings gave Risner last season.

Brandel, a 2020 sixth-round pick by the Vikings, has spent the last two seasons filling in at various positions on Minnesota’s offensive line. He has made starts at left tackle, right tackle, and right guard over the past two years. Notably, left guard is not amongst them.

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Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Blake Brandel (64) stretches before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

However, if that were to become a problem, there is another solution. Ed Ingram, Minnesota’s current right guard, spent the final three seasons of his collegiate career at LSU playing the left guard position, so in theory, Ingram could flip over to the left side of the offensive line while allowing Brandel to play right guard.

Of course, the Vikings should still look to find extra pieces for their o-line regardless of their decisions for the starting lineup. However, options exist now that both Brandel and Quessenberry are officially back on the team.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Focus helped with this article.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.