Prediction No. 1
The Vikings will have three new starters across the offensive line
With Dalton Risner getting acclimated to his new team, he watched from the sidelines as the Vikings offensive line was pounded in Week 3. But as the Vikings prepare for Carolina, he might not be the only change Kevin O’Connell makes to his starting lineup.
Risner likely make his debut in Carolina, but who he could replace is a different story. Ed Ingram was the highest-rated right guard by Pro Football Focus in Week 3, but he also allowed six pressures, a pair of sacks, and committed two penalties (one declined).
Ezra Cleveland also has a favorable PFF grade (72.9) on the season but allowed three pressures in the loss to the Chargers.
The conundrum becomes even stranger when you look at the Vikings’ pass-block numbers. Kirk Cousins has been pressured on 32.4 percent (48-of-148) of his dropbacks this season, but 54.1 percent of those pressures have come from the interior of the offensive line.
While you could make the case that they’ve held up, an 0-3 start requires change somewhere, and that could lead to three new starters along the interior.
Risner and Garrett Bradbury, who is trending toward returning from a back injury, are the most likely to be in the starting lineup on Sunday. But it’s possible the Vikings could turn to Blake Brandel to give Minnesota a different look on the interior.