4 Vikings rookies with unrealistic expectations in 2021

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Ihmir Smith-Marsette
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Ihmir Smith-Marsette /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Christian Darrisaw /

Christian Darrisaw – OT

There is little doubt that Christian Darrisaw has enough physical attributes to forge a successful career in the NFL. The Vikings picked the offensive tackle in the first round after trading down, which represents some real value at No. 23 overall if the Virginia Tech product reaches expectations.

To say this was a position of need for Minnesota heading into the draft would be something of an understatement. The team parted ways with Riley Reiff as part of cost-cutting measures in the current climate and had things been different, the veteran showed enough production to warrant a longer stay.

Darrisaw will be tasked with filling the void left by Reiff and it would be a huge surprise if he wasn’t the Day 1 starter protecting Kirk Cousins‘ blindside. This is an immense responsibility for someone so young and although the talent is there for all to see, expecting miracles right away is unrealistic.

Rookie linemen do tend to go through some growing pains before coming on strong later in the season. The Vikings can ill-afford the same slow start that cost them in 2020, so they’ll be banking on Darrisaw to be firing on all cylinders right from the outset.

Whether he can do that or not remains to be seen. Minnesota doesn’t have much in the way of viable options behind him, so Darrisaw needs to adapt accordingly to avoid a baptism of fire.