Vikings Projected to Sign Lineman to Record-Setting $125 Million Extension

Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Getty Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (R) and Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings interact before the start of a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Minnesota Vikings left tackle Christian Darrisaw is poised to become one of the highest-paid non-quarterbacks in the NFL by next season.

Selected 23rd in the 2021 draft, Darrisaw lived up to the companions to future Hall of Famer Trent Williams last season by finishing as the second-highest graded tackle by Pro Football Focus (PFF).

While Justin Jefferson’s extension has come with the tangled debate of the success of the franchise and who will be throwing him the ball, Darrisaw’s future extension will be far less complicated and likely to happen in his first year of eligibility next offseason.

Purple Insider’s Matthew Coller projected the deal to match Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsel’s $25 million annual value, the highest annual value of a contract in NFL history — if not exceed it. He predicted Darrisaw to see a five-year, $125 million extension.

“He’s definitely good enough to get it next year. If this year goes like last year, then Christian Darrisaw is one of the best — not just left tackles — but best and most valuable players in the NFL,” Coller said on July 4 on his podcast. “When you get a left tackle of this caliber, you give him all the dollars. There’s a really big impact to put one guy on an island, and for their future that’s what they’re going to hope to do.”

Darrisaw’s presence, along with right tackle Brian O’Neill, has Minnesota on the verge of a top-10 offensive line after years of futility in the trenches. O’Neill signed a five-year, $92.5 million extension two years ago that keeps him in Minnesota through the 2026 season. Pairing him with Darrisaw will be tantamount to the offense’s success long-term.

Christian Darrisaw Overcomes Rocky Rookie Season to Become a Top-3 Left Tackle

Darrisaw was the fifth left tackle taken in his draft class despite an impressive collegiate career. He arrived in Minnesota with a linger core muscle injury despite having surgery and passing the NFL combine physical.

Darrisaw had a second operation that summer but the injury continued to nag him through training camp. Darrisaw didn’t play the first three games. of the season and didn’t start until Week 6. He gave up 22 pressures in 10 starts but came along toward the end of the season, posting three straight zero-sack performances to close the year.

Darrisaw surfaced as a budding star at training camp in 2022 when reporters and team personnel got to see him work side-by-side with future Hall of Famer and San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams in joint practices.

Darrisaw allowed just 20 pressures in 14 games last season and did not give up a sack through the first 10 weeks of the 2022 season. He missed three games late last season after suffering concussions in consecutive games but those injuries shouldn’t be a detriment to his availability moving forward.

“Watching him last year and the way he took that huge step, it really said something about him. His first year was very rocky. He came in with an injury and had to be thrown into the fire. But when he came back, every practice he was looking dialed in and competing,” Coller said. “I think that’s a reflection of who he is. I think he’s going to be a great player for a long time. They’re going to sign him and it’s going to be a lot of money, probably after next year.”

 Vikings Offensive Line Ranks in Top-15 for the First Time in 6 Years

Darrisaw’s development has coincided with the rise of the Vikings offensive line in recent years.

Entering the 2023 preseason, the Vikings boast the 15th-ranked offensive line, their highest ranking by PFF since the 2017 season when they started the year as the 14th-ranked line in the NFL.

The Vikings are banking on continuity being the biggest improvement for the group this season with no immediate upgrades at any of the interior line spots.

Center Garrett Bradbury re-signed to a three-year, $15.8 million deal after a bounce-back season — but the guard spots remain a serious concern.

Ed Ingram allowed the most pressures in the NFL (63) last season but played every snap as a rookie, while Ezra Cleveland allowed the third-most pressures (55).

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