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Minnesota Vikings - Offensive Starters Preview | #SKOL

QB: Kirk Cousins

This one is obvious as the Vikings signed him to an extension this offseason. Kirk is a better QB than a majority of the media is willing to give him credit for. He was never able to reach his fullest possible output his first few years in Minnesota, due to a defensive minded HC that seemingly hated him. Now with Kevin O'Connell, hopefully we see the best Kirk Cousins we've ever seen.



RB: Dalvin Cook

Cook returns to Minnesota for his sixth season in purple. Cook is one of the leagues best RBs, as he has the break away speed, elite contact balance, the ability to be a pass catching weapon, and has even been able to stay healthier and healthier the longer his career progresses. Through his first 2 years in the NFL, Dalvin Cook missed 17 games. Through the last 3 seasons, Cook has missed just 8 games. He's back to jersey number 4 and is staying on the field, expect this guy to play elite football in 2022.




WRs: Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, KJ Osborn

17, 18, 19, and they're all going to tear you up, beautiful isn't it? Justin Jefferson has a case as the best WR in football, as he is the only guy with 3,000 yards over the last two seasons. A vicious route runner, Jefferson already has an hour long highlight tape of making corners ankles look like jelly. If 100/1600/10 wasn't enough, expect Jefferson to take off even more in the Ram's system.


Adam Thielen may just be the most underrated WR in the sport. He has battled injuries the last few years, but that hasn't stopped him from being at or near the top of the league in TD receptions. The guy is a red zone wizard. There is no one who can stop 19 once he's running around near the goal line. I get to draft Thielen in the 7th-9th rounds in fantasy every year, and he is ALWAYS a top 10 contributor when on the field. I expect none of that to change this year, just hopefully he can stay healthy.


Lastly is a 2021 season breakout, who is expected to pick up and improve on where he left off. KJ Osborn finished last year with about 700 yards, and filled in beautifully when AT19 was sidelined. Now that the Vikings will go to 11 personnel a ton, I expect a big season out of Osborn. He can win down the field and has the route running chops of his counterparts. Rick Spielman did a phenomenal job finding WR talents, and Kwesi/Kevin and co. are going to reap the benefits.




TE: Irv Smith Jr.



Irv Smith missed all of last season with injury, and a lot of people even outside of Minnesota expected it to be his breakout season. Smith is a bit undersized for the TE position, but his ability to block doesn't seem to mind. He is more athletic than most LBs and too big more most safeties, so at his peak he can be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. If Smith reaches his full potential, the Vikings could realistically boast the best collection of pass catchers in the entire league.


LT: Christian Darrisaw


The rook showed immense talent last year, and didn't even get a full camp to prepare as he battled a core injury into the season. If Darrisaw improves even slightly heading into next season, he showed he is already plenty good enough to stick on the left side at tackle, and be an above average starter. We Vikings fans hope that he ascends into one of the league's best LTs, but where he is at right now is a nice surprise from where we've seen the OL be in recent memory.


LG: Ezra Cleveland



Cleveland is another one of the Vikings OL that has been a pleasant surprise over the last few seasons. Drafted as a LT, but he has played his entire career on the iOL. His anchor could still get a bit better in pass pro, but he is super athletic and can dominate in the zone run scheme. Even though he's played out of position for his whole career, he still has never graded out below average, he is just that talented.



C: Garrett Bradbury



After some OL optimism, here comes the pessimism. Bradbury was selected in the middle of the first round, and not even for a series of 3 snaps consecutively has ever looked like a first round talent. He gets dominated by big NTs, Kenny Clark and Akiem Hicks for examples. Coach O'Connell spoke highly of him, so hopefully they figure out a way to scheme around the pass blocking atrocities committed by Bradbury on almost every play. This is probably his last year to prove he belongs on this level.


RG: The coaches don't even know, so how should I?



Right now there is about 5 guys vying for the spot of starting RG for the Vikings. For starters, there is Oli Udoh, who spent a lot of the year in the spot. He is most known for halting drives due to holding penalties. Next is Wyatt Davis. At one point Davis was viewed as a first round talent, but slid due to lower body injuries. Hopefully he can regain his all-B1G form and take and keep the job. The others are Jesse Davis, recently signed from the Dolphins, and Chris Reed, former Colt. I expect the job to come down to Reed and Davis, but my guess is as good as yours for who will start come week 1.


RT: Brian O'Neill



Brian O'Neill is a master of consistency at the RT position. He doesn't get the media attention of a Tristian Wirfs or Ryan Ramczyk, but he is right up there with them for the best RT in all of football. O'Neill is super athletic, can punish people in the run game, and almost literally never gives up a sack. He has gotten better and better every year, and now that he's been paid a boatload of money, hopefully he continues to ascend.


When looking at the talent on this Minnesota offense it's easy to see why fans are excited. A top 10-12 QB, top 3 RB, top 5 3 deep at WR, and an improving OL are all reasons to have decently high expectations heading into 2022. If KOC is the offensive mind he has been billed to be, he has the weapons to prove it right off the bat as soon as the season gets underway.