4 biggest concerns for the 2021 Minnesota Vikings

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Smith
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Smith /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Christian Darrisaw /

Young offensive line

The Vikings’ offensive line is definitely more talented than it was a season ago. This year, they used a first-round draft pick on offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw and then a third-rounder on a big, physical guard in Wyatt Davis.

Brian O’Neill returns at right tackle, Garret Bradbury is back at center, and second-year man Ezra Cleveland is the favorite to start at left guard. While the talent across the board is improved, Minnesota still has to be a bit concerned with the lack of experience across the majority of the line.

The Vikings went with a youth movement at cornerback a season ago and it came back to bite them in the butt. Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler struggled early, and while there was an improvement by the season’s end, their inexperience, and having to learn on the fly, really set the secondary back and cost the team some games.

Minnesota could see a similar situation unfold with their offensive line this year. Darrisaw is an impressive-looking rookie, but it will be difficult for him to play to the level Riley Reiff did a season ago for the Vikings, especially early in the season.

Darrisaw will likely be starting from Day 1, but he will probably go through some growing pains as he adjusts to the speed and talent of NFL pass rushers.

Davis will likely be the Vikings’ starting guard on the right side of the line, and like Darrisaw, he could face a period of adjustment as he acclimates to the pro game. Cleveland will probably be learning a new position for the second straight season and he too could have some rough outings until he figures things out.

Minnesota will hope this unit jells early in OTAs and training camp, but they have to be concerned about the possibility of early struggles and pray it doesn’t cost them any games next season.