5 best Vikings rookies during the Mike Zimmer era

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill - Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Brian O’Neill /

4. Brian O’Neill – OT

O’Neill was not supposed to see much of the field during his first season with the Vikings in 2018. But injuries and poor play by other offensive linemen eventually resulted in the rookie starting 11 games for Minnesota last year.

The case isn’t really even that hard to make that O’Neill was the Vikings’ best offensive linemen in 2018 either. The Minnesota rookie was one of only four offensive tackles in the entire NFL last season that was on the field for at least 200 pass-block snaps and didn’t allow a single sack.

O’Neill did give up a total of 31 quarterback pressures last year, but he still performed better than pretty much any rookie offensive linemen the Vikings have put out on the field since Mike Zimmer became their head coach.

The argument can be made that Pat Elflein played well in his very first season with Minnesota in 2017 also. But O’Neill did have the tougher task of playing on the outside of the offensive line and his performance was promising.

After being drafted in the second round last year, O’Neill was definitely a pleasant surprise for the Vikings. He should be a key part of Minnesota’s offensive line moving forward.