Vikings offensive line for 2021 season starting to take shape

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Thanks to the Minnesota Vikings OTA practices this week, we’ve been able to see how their starting offensive line might look for the 2021 season.

If there is a position group that could determine the amount of success for the Minnesota Vikings during the 2021 season, the offensive line has to be one of the top candidates.

The Vikings were competitive in just about every game last year. But Minnesota’s offensive line let them down too many times and this was a large reason for why the team missed out on the playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons.

This year, the Vikings appear determined to right this ship, and their investment in two new blockers during the first three rounds of this year’s NFL Draft shows their commitment to finding a solution.

Hints being dropped in OTAs about the direction of the Minnesota Vikings offensive line

On Monday, Minnesota held their first OTA practice session of the year at the team’s immaculate practice facilities, the TCO Performance Center.

The majority of the Vikings players have participated in the team’s OTA practices on Monday and Tuesday, including their offensive linemen. Thanks to some of the media Minnesota has shared on their official website from these two OTA sessions, we’ve been able to get a bit of an idea about what their plans could be for the offensive line next season.

In a video the Vikings posted on their website on Monday (around the 1:45 mark), the first-team offensive line appeared to feature Rashod Hill at left tackle, Ezra Cleveland at left guard, Garrett Bradbury at center, Dakota Dozier at right guard, and Brian O’Neill at right tackle.

Now, we don’t have film of Minnesota’s entire OTA session from Monday, so guys could have been rotating in and out, but it appears that rookie left tackle Christian Darrisaw and rookie guard Wyatt Davis are not working with the first-team offense at this point in the offseason.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone though. Under Mike Zimmer, the Vikings are known for bringing along their rookies slowly, but this definitely doesn’t mean that Darrisaw or Davis won’t be a part of the team’s starting offensive line to begin the 2021 season.

The most significant takeaway from this video clip should be the fact that Minnesota has Cleveland lining up at left guard. With Davis spending the majority of his college career at right guard, the Vikings seem to be setting things up for the rookie to take Cleveland’s old role on the starting line if he impresses the coaching staff enough this summer.

The same can be said for Darrisaw with Hill lining up at left tackle. Hill has been Minnesota’s swing tackle for most of his tenure with the team and one should assume that the team is probably planning for him to have the same role in 2021 to make room for this year’s first-round pick in the starting lineup.

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There’s still a lot of time left before the start of the 2021 season, but the quicker the Vikings can get their starting offensive line sorted out, the quicker their top blockers can start to learn the tendencies and habits of their teammates next to them on the line.