Brian O’Neill did something very rare for the Vikings in 2018

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill /

During his rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings, the young offensive tackle didn’t allow his quarterback to get sacked even once in all of his time on the field.

When the Minnesota Vikings drafted him in the second round last year, the belief was that Brian O’Neill would sit on the sidelines and learn from afar during the majority of his rookie season.

But injuries and poor play forced O’Neill into the Vikings’ starting lineup by Week 6 last year and the young offensive tackle took advantage of his unexpected opportunity. The rookie ended up starting a total of 11 games at right tackle for Minnesota in 2018.

O’Neill had some moments last year where it was obvious that he was playing in the NFL for the first time. But overall, the Vikings’ rookie offensive tackle outperformed pretty much any expectation that he was given before the 2018 season began.

Of the Minnesota offensive linemen that had at least 300 pass-block snaps last year, O’Neill gave up the second-fewest pressures per pass-block snap in 2018 (Pat Elflein had the fewest).

The Vikings’ rookie blocker also did something else that was pretty impressive during his rookie season. During his time on the field in 2018, O’Neill didn’t allow a single sack .

Minnesota’s rookie was one of only four offensive tackles in the entire NFL last year to have at least 200 pass-block snaps and not allow a sack. O’Neill was actually one of two rookies to accomplish this last season as first-year Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown also didn’t give up a sack in 2018.

So for those who were disappointed with the Vikings decision to not select an offensive lineman with their first-round pick in the 2018 draft, their choice to go with O’Neill in the second round seems to be working out just fine so far.

If his first season with the team is any indication of what is to come in the future, Minnesota’s offensive line appears to be heading in the right direction with their young tackle leading the way.

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