The Minnesota Vikings had a suspect offensive line entering the season, a problem that was both proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and then exacerbated in Week 1.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recorded nine quarterback hits, two sacks and two fumble recoveries on their way to a 20-17 victory in Minnesota on Sunday, September 10. The Bucs defensive front also held the Vikings to a meager 41 rushing yards on 17 attempts, per ESPN statistics.
To make matters worse, injuries to multiple players along the offensive line have depleted Minnesota’s depth inside the unit. Team doctors have ruled center Garrett Bradbury out for the team’s Thursday Night Football matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, per the Vikings’ official website. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw is questionable with an ankle issue.
Dalton Risner Issues Another Public Display of Interest in Joining Vikings
Minnesota hosted Risner for a workout in early August, though ultimately chose not to sign him immediately. The Vikings Central X account authored a post following Sunday’s loss that read simply, “Dalton Risner on the phone tomorrow.”
The offensive lineman responded to that post with an even simpler comment.
“I’m ready,” Risner wrote.
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report on September 12 advised the Vikings to add Risner, naming him a free agent that Minnesota “should sign” following Week 1.
Even if the entire offensive line is healthy and active, the Vikings must make some changes in the trenches. One player who could step in and immediately help is Dalton Risner.
Risner failed to catch on with a team before the start of the 2023 campaign despite garnering plenty of interest following a solid run with the Denver Broncos. While he was never a Pro-Bowl talent, the 2019 second-round pick started 62 games during his tenure in the Mile High City and never allowed more than four sacks — including giving up none in 2020.
Ed Ingram Continues to Function as Weak Link Along Vikings’ Offensive Line
The interior of Minnesota’s offensive line was a problem last year and a troubling question all preseason long. The group didn’t rise to the challenge Sunday, which led to widespread criticism, particularly of starting offensive guard Ed Ingram.
Ingram was among the worst players at his position in the NFL last year, earning an overall player grade of 57.1 from Pro Football Focus (PFF) and its advanced-analytics measurement system. Allowing the most QB pressures of any offensive lineman in the league in 2022 didn’t help Risner’s cause. Then, somehow, his numbers were even worse in the first game of this season, per PFF.
However, Ingram disagreed with the objective metrics, the traditional stat sheet and the criticism from analysts, in the eyes of whom he failed on Sunday.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Ingram told reporters in the locker room after the game. “I had some slight mistakes, but other than that I liked my performance.”
While Ingram may have been inexplicably happy with his day, Vikings fans would be happier still if the team brought in reinforcements — preferably ones capable of protecting Cousins from opposing pass-rushers flying through the interior of the offensive line.