NFL analyst thinks a rookie will start for the Minnesota Vikings in 2018

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill - Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill - Minnesota Vikings /

NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal believes that rookie offensive tackle Brian O’Neill will open up the 2018 season as a starter for the Minnesota Vikings.

Following the selection of Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes with their first pick in this year’s NFL Draft, there was a bit of disappointment in the air when to the Minnesota Vikings decided not to add one of the interior offensive linemen that were still on the board.

Some of the draft pool’s top rated guards and centers were still available when the Vikings went on the clock in the first round, but they decided to go with Hughes instead.

Minnesota passed on selecting a potential immediate starting interior offensive lineman with their first pick in 2018. Instead, they went with a bit of a project in the second round and selected Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O’Neill.

Many believe that O’Neill is at least a year away before he cracks significant time in the Vikings’ starting lineup. But this is not a belief that is shared by NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

Rosenthal recently projected the 2018 starters for each of the four teams in the NFC North and he has O’Neill as Minnesota’s starting right tackle.

In addition to the rookie, Rosenthal also thinks that Mike Remmers will begin the upcoming season as the Vikings’ starting right guard.

Rosenthal went on to explain that O’Neill beginning 2018 as a starter is, “an optimistic projection,” and that a strong training camp by the rookie is what will convince Minnesota to insert him into their starting lineup.

It certainly is an optimistic projection and one that also does not seem likely unless someone gets injured before the regular season. The last time the Vikings opened the year with a rookie as their starting right tackle was in 2015 with T.J. Clemmings and everyone knows how that turned out.

Next: Ranking the Vikings' 2018 draft picks

Perhaps O’Neill beginning the season as a starter would turn out differently than it did for Clemmings. But Minnesota will likely look at every other option before starting a rookie on their offensive line in 2018.