Mason Cole – OG/C
It was refreshing to see Mason Cole get the call to be the Vikings’ starting right guard in this game versus the Bears. He had played well when the Vikings shuffled their offensive line to make up for the Christian Darrisaw injury and earned the chance to start over Oli Udoh.
The only concern was that the Vikings might not make the move with their history of sticking with struggling players, but they must’ve seen enough from Udoh over the last few weeks to make a change. While Cole didn’t rack up the flags like Udoh does, from a pass-blocking perspective, the result was very much the same.
Cole was simply overmatched by Akiem Hicks. Hicks played with his pants on fire and destroyed Cole snap after snap. He was quicker, stronger, and bigger than Cole and the Minnesota offensive lineman just couldn’t anchor or fend off the big interior disruptor.
In Cole’s defense, there probably wasn’t a guard on the roster who would’ve done much better against Hicks, as he was a man possessed on Monday night, and his goal was clearly to make Kirk Cousins’ night a living hell.
Cole had been very good in the past few weeks but met his match in Hicks, who went on to have five tackles and two sacks on the night. While his performance on the big stage was disappointing, the Vikings would be wise to keep him in the starting lineup to see how he responds against the Rams this Sunday.