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Brian O’Neill recognized among league’s underrated players

It’s nice to see his talent acknowledged

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

We know that Brian O’Neill is one of the better offensive tackles in the National Football League, but he doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of recognition outside of the Minnesota Vikings’ fan base.

Today, at least one outlet has given him some praise, as the folks from USA Today’s Touchdown Wire have named O’Neill the starting right tackle on their All-Underrated Team.

Here’s what they had to say about big #75.

You could argue that O’Neill isn’t really underrated anymore — after all, he made his first Pro Bowl in the 2021 season, and the Vikings gave him a five-year, $92.5 million contract extension last September. But as he’s not frequently talked about as one of the NFL’s better right tackles, he makes our list regardless. Minnesota selected O’Neill out of Pitt in the second round of the 2018 draft, and O’Neill proved to be a plus-level pass-blocker from the start, with improvement in the run game over time. In 2021, he allowed just one sack, two quarterback hurries, and 19 quarterback hits in 605 pass-blocking reps.

An agile athlete with the technical ability to turn a pass-rusher around in short spaces, O’Neill is also excellent on the move when it’s time to run the ball. On this 66-yard Dalvin Cook run against the Ravens in Week 9, watch how he gets to the second level and just erases cornerback Anthony Averett along the way.

(You’ll have to go to the link to see the video. . .I can’t seem to find an embed thing for it anywhere.)

Now, Brian O’Neill isn’t underrated by everybody. . .if you’ll recall, yours truly declared him to be one of the three best players on the Vikings’ roster just a few days ago. But it’s nice to see some more praise for a guy that doesn’t get a lot of recognition on the national level. Hopefully in 2022 O’Neill will be able to make more people take notice.