5 biggest unsung heroes for the Minnesota Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Armon Watts
(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Armon Watts /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Ezra Cleveland /

Ezra Cleveland – LG

The Vikings’ offensive live has received plenty of criticism this season. That’s mostly in part due to Oli Udoh stinking it up at right guard and the continued struggles of center Garrett Bradbury.  Those two have been overpowered and have drawn plenty of costly penalties that stall or kill drives.

The tackle positions have been much better, with Brian O’Neill being a stalwart on the right side and rookie Christian Darrisaw playing well at left tackle. Another player who has quietly had a solid season is second-year man Ezra Cleveland.

Cleveland moved from the right side to the left in year two and has adapted very nicely. He’s been both solid in pass protection and in run blocking, and it is pretty rare when his number is called for a penalty, only being flagged three times on the season. He’s allowed just one sack on the season and appears to be getting better as the season wears on.

It is pretty impressive for a guy who was a tackle in college to not only play two new positions in his first two seasons in the NFL but to do it on both sides of the line. Cleveland looks like a piece the Vikings can rely on in the future, and he definitely needs to be given more love for his solid play this season.