5 Vikings players with the most to prove in Week 1 vs. the Bengals

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Ihmir Smith-Marsette
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Ihmir Smith-Marsette /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Oli Udoh /

Oli Udoh – RG

The Vikings’ carousel at the guard position continues this season as third-year lineman Oli Udoh gets the chance to start this Sunday.

Udoh is a massive player, standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 320 pounds. But size alone is not what makes someone a worthy NFL lineman.

There was not much competition for Udoh to beat out in training camp, as his competition was Dakota Dozier and rookie Wyatt Davis. Dozier is not even on the active roster anymore, while Davis is a solid guard prospect that is coming off a knee injury in his final season at Ohio State.

Though Udoh is in his third year with the team, he has barely got any playing time to show fans his talent, so his first career start in Week 1 will be the real showcase of his ability. Reports from training camp have been positive about Udoh’s transition to playing guard (drafted out of college as a tackle) and with his placement as the starter, it shows the coaching staff has confidence in his ability. With Wyatt Davis behind him on the depth chart, there may not be a very long leash for Udoh if he were to have a slow start to the season, so this week 1 matchup against Cincinnati could go a long way in solidifying his role on the line for 2021.

The Vikings have played the likes of Dakota Dozier, Dru Samia, and Pat Elflein at guard over the recent seasons, so the bar is nearly on the floor for Udoh to start the year. Minnesota is a team that has high hopes for 2021 however, so they will need Udoh to play at least at a competent level to help protect Kirk and star running back Dalvin Cook. When a team has high expectations, one slip-up could lead to the next man up, so we will see how Udoh fairs against the Bengals.