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Both Vikings starting tackles make appearance on ESPN Top 10 list

But one is just an honorable mention

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we brought you a story about T.J. Hockenson’s rank among NFL tight ends according to ESPN’s annual polling of coaches and executives around the league. Their rankings continue today, and there’s more good news for fans of the Minnesota Vikings.

Today’s list centers around offensive tackles, and both halves of Minnesota’s bookends at the position appear on the list. The higher-ranking of the two is left tackle Christian Darrisaw, who comes in at #9 on the list.

Darrisaw showed enormous potential in his second season. After missing five games as a rookie in 2021, he posted an 80.5% run block win rate in 2022, second-best among tackles in this group.

While some voters think he isn’t ready for the top 10, those who are high on him are very high.

“Supreme talent,” an AFC executive said. “Really natural athlete. He’ll be higher on this list next year. He’s essentially still a rookie because he’s missed some time.”

Darrisaw has proven himself to be an outstanding selection and is now one of a number of Vikings that’s likely in line for a significant pay raise here in the very near future.

On the other side of the line, Brian O’Neill. . .who has already gotten a significant pay raise thanks to an extension he signed a couple of seasons ago. . .appears on the list as one of the five “Honorable Mentions.”

O’Neill has been one of Minnesota’s most consistent players for the past three years. Before an Achilles injury shortened his 2022 season, he had started every game since the 2020 season. “When he got paid, I remember being surprised a bit, but he’s a quality starter,” an AFC exec said. “Maybe not elite, but really solid, good athletic ability, technically sound, can get out and run, a wall-and-seal type guy. Probably on the fringe of the top 10.”

Even when the rest of the offensive line wasn’t very good, O’Neill was consistently the line’s best player. With O’Neill and Darrisaw anchoring the line for the foreseeable future, at least the edges are in good hands for Kirk Cousins or whoever might come after him at the quarterback position for the Vikings.