5 current Vikings players primed for a larger role in 2023

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Jalen Nailor
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Jalen Nailor /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Blake Brandel /

Blake Brandel – OT

Arguably the biggest question mark for the Vikings right now is the status of Brian O’Neill. The star right tackle suffered a partially torn Achilles in Week 17, which has put the start of next season in jeopardy.

While O’Neill has a pretty good chance to return by the start of the season, Achilles injuries are complicated, and even if he does return, it may not be at full strength. Luckily for the Vikings, Blake Brandel did well as a backup tackle last season, filling in for Christian Darrisaw.

Brandel is a solid swing tackle option to buy the team extra time while O’Neill recovers from his injury and could also be implemented in certain packages as a sixth man on the line. The days of Oli Udoh being the primary swing tackle may be over, with Brandel taking over that role.

In a perfect world, Brandel will not be needed in a larger capacity than he’s had, but given the circumstances, he is the right man for the job and gives the team a fallback option in case O’Neill needs a few extra weeks to ramp up his body to get into game shape.