8 bold predictions for the Minnesota Vikings 2021 season

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Rashod Hill /

Minnesota’s offensive line will hold the team back

There was a lot of celebration when the Vikings added Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis to the offensive line in the 2021 draft, but it appears that neither will be in the starting lineup in Week 1. That produces a big problem that could make this offensive line weaker than it was a year ago.

Although Darrisaw will return to practice this week, he still has a ways to go before being inserted into the starting lineup. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Zimmer estimated that Darrisaw has practiced four times since being selected with the 23rd overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft. That means that Darrisaw will have to catch up before he hits the field.

That’s a problem considering who Darrisaw is replacing. Riley Reiff didn’t allow a sack in 2020 and would have been useful if the Vikings found a way to keep him around. With his departure for Cincinnati, it creates a domino effect that begins with Rashod Hill at left tackle.

Starting a career swing tackle is bad news for the Vikings, who face a gauntlet of elite pass rushers in the first month of the season. If Hill struggles against Trey Hendrickson, it doesn’t get easier the following week against J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals.

The rest of the offensive line could also struggle in this scenario. Ezra Cleveland is still learning how to play guard while Garrett Bradbury has been disappointing since arriving in the 2019 NFL Draft. Oli Udoh moved to guard a month ago and while Brian O’Neill should be good, it may not matter if the rest of the line doesn’t perform.

That’s a rough scenario for the offense, which needs things to stay on schedule to perform at its best. If the offensive line continues to have the same issues, it could throw everything off, leading the Vikings to struggle this season.