2. Waiting to play Dalton Risner
The Vikings'' offensive line hasn't been great for years, but it has come together in 2023. Christian Darrisaw and Brian O'Neill have continued to be stalwarts as usual on the edges, but it's the interior that has improved the most.
Minnesota right guard Ed Ingram has made a big leap in his second year, and maligned center Garrett Bradbury hasn't been a liability at all. Newly signed guard Dalton Risner has also been very good, to the point where the team felt they could part ways with former starting left guard Ezra Cleveland earlier this year.
The Vikings' offensive line was good this season before Risner's insertion into it, but after he took over at left guard, it really started to jell. The once porous unit became a strength of the team, and whoever Minnesota has started at quarterback this year seemed to have ample time in the pocket.
So the question now becomes why wasn't the move to Risner made sooner?
Risner came in around Week 4 after being courted in the preseason. The Vikings brought him along very slowly, and he didn't start a game until a few weeks later.
Sure, Risner needed to get up to speed with the playbook and his linemates, but that didn't need to take three weeks. He's a veteran and could've probably taken over after about a full week of practice and preparation.
Risner didn't get a chance to start until Cleveland was hurt and since that time, he became a steady presence up front for Minnesota and blossomed into a leader in the locker room.
It's a fair argument as to whether or not his starting sooner would've made an impact in the win/loss column for the Vikings, but there's no doubt he was, and is, the better option at left guard than Cleveland and the delay in getting him involved was a poor decision.