3 unsung heroes from the Vikings win over the Bears in Week 5

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Ezra Cleveland /

Ezra Cleveland – LG

The Vikings seem to have finally pieced together an offensive line with a pulse. For years the line was one of, if not the biggest weakness of Minnesota’s entire team.

While it may not be a top-five line in the NFL just yet, this group of offensive linemen has been more than serviceable for the Vikings, and a lot of the credit for their improvement should go to the left side of the line.

Minnesota left tackle Christian Darrisaw has received his flowers for his stellar performance all season, and that continued against the Bears in Week 5. With Darrisaw playing at an All-Pro level, the big man who lines up right next to him, Ezra Cleveland, hasn’t gotten much praise this season.

Cleveland has been a mauler this year for Minnesota. With him and Darrisaw lined up together, the left side of the Vikings’ offensive line has seemed like an impenetrable fortress.

Cleveland continued his underrated 2022 season this past Sunday against Chicago by not allowing a single pressure and ending up with the best grade on Minnesota’s offense by PFF.

Cleveland has been a solid player for the Vikings since he entered the league, but this season has shown him evolve into a real beast at guard. Minnesota’s offensive line has experienced a revival this season, and their starting left guard is a big reason why.