Christian Darrisaw: One of The Best Tackles in the NFL

Left Side! Strong Side! Left Side! Strong Side! We all know how important the left tackle position is in football. The left tackle protects the quarterback (most quarterbacks, anyway) from their most vulnerable position, making the spot one of the most valuable and important positions in the game. They’re often the highest paid player on an offensive line, and easily scrutinized if they give up a big hit to their quarterback. Needless to say, left tackles are pretty damn important.

Over the last few seasons, Minnesota has struggled mightily with finding themselves franchise left tackle. Finding a franchise position in itself is very hard, but with as much trouble as the Vikings have been through with their offensive line, the extra scouting and resources still couldn’t land them a viable option. Until now. Christian Darrisaw is one of the best tackles in the NFL, and he’s already one of the best players on the Minnesota Vikings.

In 2012, the Minnesota Vikings drafted left tackle Matt Kalil in the first round. Kalil was considered to be the best offensive linemen in the draft that year. Matt Kalil had a strong start to his career, making the pro bowl as a rookie. Unfortunately, that’s all he could muster, and after four seasons with the Vikings, he was let go. Since then, the Vikings have used a collection of free agent signings and late round draft picks to fill the void at left tackle. Rotational snaps between T.J. Clemmings and Rashad Hill left much to be desired. Free agent Riley Reiff was a decent stand-in for a few seasons, but as veteran free agents go, he became too slow and outdated against today’s pass rushers. During these seasons (2012-2020), the Vikings’ offensive line consistently ranked in the bottom third of the league, year in and year out.

Insert Darrisaw. In 2021, the Minnesota Vikings drafted Chrstian Darrisaw with the 23rd pick of the draft. Scouts raved about his athleticism and fiery competitiveness. Darrisaw became an impact player right away playing opposite of right tackle Brian O’Neill, and in 2021, he posted a 71.9 PFF grade, highest by a Viking left tackle in years. It was evident in his rookie year that Darrisaw had the potential to explode, and he received high remarks around the league. This summer, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams had praise for the young buck.

“He’s a great kid. He’s open and willing to learn. He’s physically gifted. … I do see a lot of myself in him, especially the young Trent.” Williams said.

Entering 2022, the expectations for Darrisaw were high, and he’s delivered so far. With the Vikings sitting at a league high 8-1 record, Darrisaw has posted a 89.8 PFF score, the highest PFF grade for a tackle in the entire league. The Vikings entire offensive line has improved too, threatening top ten grades week in and week out. Earlier this week before the game against the Buffalo Bills, future Hall of Fame pass-rusher Von Miller noted the Vikings offensive line.

“This offensive line (Minnesota), they are probably the best offensive line that we have seen so far. From right tackle to left tackle, O’Neil to Darrisaw, they are a one-two punch,” said Miller.

After years of shaky and inconsistent play from the left tackle position, it’s clear that the Vikings have found real talent and promise in Christian Darrisaw. He continues to improve, and he offers the Vikings a sound foundational piece on the line as they continue to grow and solidify the front five for the future. Darrisaw’s leadership shows each week, and it’s evident that the entire line looks up to him. Time will only tell how far Darrisaw takes himself and this unit.
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