Brian O’Neill facing his toughest challenge of the season vs. Panthers

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) Brian O’Neill – Minnesota Vikings /

How can O’Neill stop Burns?

In truth, there is very little anyone can do to prevent Brian Burns from getting into the backfield consistently. And it might have to be a collective effort from the Minnesota Vikings if they want to get themselves back into playoff contention.

It’s not like Brian O’Neill is playing poorly. For all Minnesota’s flaws in their interior protection outside of Garrett Bradbury’s production, they do have two solid tackles that have performed above expectations once again in 2020.

If O’Neill’s level of production last season was encouraging, then it’s gone to another level this time around. The former Pittsburgh Panther has given up five penalties and two sacks from 628 snaps on his way to a 76.4 grade from Pro Football Focus and he will need to be at his very best to counteract what Burns brings to the table.

Getting out of his stance quickly will be key. Burns is renowned for his exceptional burst and if O’Neill can do this and stay in front of him, it will be half the battle.

The tackle also needs to watch out for a phenomenal spin move that Burns utilizes heavily, which is a problem that few linemen coming up against him have been able to solve.

Expect O’Neill to get plenty of help from the likes of Kyle Rudolph. But it’s hard not to look at this particular matchup as anything other than critical to the eventual result.