5 late-round picks from 2020 that could impact the Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Blake Lynch
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Blake Lynch /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Blake Brandel /

Blake Brandel – OT

Blake Brandel was a sixth-round pick of the Vikings last year and he didn’t make the final 53-man roster. This wasn’t a shock to anyone as he was seen as a bit of a project who would need some time to develop.

With the COVID-19 pandemic shortening the number of offseason practices and the amount of time Minnesota’s young players would get with the coaching staff, Brandel getting cut was basically a foregone conclusion. The Vikings did sign him to the practice squad, however, where he was able to get the coaching he so desperately needed.

It was unclear when he was drafted whether he’d end up at guard or tackle, but apparently, his future is at the tackle position. That might actually bode well for his chances of making the final roster as the Vikings’ depth at the tackle position isn’t overly daunting. Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill will be the Week 1 starters, and Rashod Hill is expected to be the primary backup.

That leaves the other backup tackle spot up for grabs and the only other player on the roster competing for it is Oli Udoh.

Udoh has made hardly a peep since he was selected by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2019 draft. He has been active for a handful of games and his lone career start came during the meaningless 2019 season finale. Udoh is by no means a lock to beat out Brandel and it should be a close and fun battle to keep an eye on in camp this summer.