The personnel pipeline between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals runs deep and rampant beneath the NFL’s surface. Current Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals for six seasons before joining Minnesota. So, it is no surprise when players like Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, George Iloka, and Terence Newman vacillate between the two franchises.
But now the Vikings and Bengals have bisected the vast world of memes.
A comedy account on Twitter posted this on Saturday:
Do the giggles feel familiar? They should.
The Vikings have longstanding offensive line woes, particularly for pass protection. So do the Bengals. Cincinnati has surrendered 214 sacks during the last five seasons — also known as fifth-worst in the league.
Therefore, in the spirit of memes, the Spider-man meme is also applicable here.
The Bengals fanbase is seemingly fascinated with drafting a wideout like Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, or Kyle Pitts (a tight end) with the 5th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The meme satirizes the perceived lunacy of this strategy as weapons like Chase, Smith, or Pitts are mostly irrelevant without large men solidifying the trenches.
And Penei Sewell is the closest pathway to a “sure thing” when considering the fortification of an offensive line. He is allegedly a day-one starter, and he has been the first offensive lineman off the board from mock drafts for months.
Interestingly, the Bengals already have a left tackle — a familiar name for Vikings faithful. That is Riley Reiff, who departed the Vikings at the beginning of March — ultimately finding a home in Cincinnati when free agency heated up.
But Reiff is not as talented — on paper or tape — as Sewell. The former Viking could easily be moved around if Sewell dons an orange-and-black jersey this autumn.
In yet another coincidence, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. sent Sewell to the Vikings in his latest mock draft. It is the first time a notable pundit has thrown Sewell in a purple helmet for 2021. He forecasts general manager Rick Spielman as a trade-up candidate [to the ninth spot] for Sewell’s services after the Oregon alumnus tumbles a bit in the draft.
On Sewell to the Vikings, Kiper writes:
“With top offensive tackle Penei Sewell still on the board, I’m projecting the Vikings to move up five spots to get their instant starter at left tackle. That could cost a lot of capital. … This would likely cost at least Minnesota’s second-rounder in 2022 and likely more. I like the fit here, particularly with Riley Reiff leaving in free agency. Sewell is an elite talent, and if this quarterback class wasn’t so strong, he might be a lock for the top five. The Vikings have had offensive line issues for years, but Sewell would plug their hole on the left side. An elite O-line covers up roster flaws, and this is a step toward improving the entire offense.“
Not only do Vikings and Bengals faithful share meme laughs, now their 1st-Round draft fates are intertwining. And one is contingent on the other.
The only real way the Vikings can snag Sewell at the end of the month is if the Bengals are “stupid” and choose a pass-catcher instead of an offensive lineman. Four quarterbacks are hypothesized to grace the draft as the first picks via the war rooms of the Jaguars, Jets, 49ers, and Falcons — and then the Bengals could possibly select Ja’Marr Chase. Sewell’s fall would be underway.
Regardless, the Vikings and Bengals are in the same boat for offensive-line eye-rolls. It is fantabulous to have commodities like Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Irv Smith Jr., and Kirk Cousins inside the offense.
But it really doesn’t do a damn bit of good if the pass protection continues to flounder.