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Perhaps the Injury Stuff for Christian Darrisaw Is Not Doomsday After All

Perhaps the Injury Stuff for Christian Darrisaw Is Not Doomsday After All

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On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings trimmed the 2021 roster to 53 men, intermingling some goofy procedural moves like releasing defensive end Everson Griffen and long snapper Andrew DePaola. Those cuts were bizarre on the surface, but both men returned to the team the following day. Crisis averted.

Aside from the silly stuff, the “big” news from roster cuts included the release of Chad Beebe (he’s injured, again), the severing of 53-man roster ties with Dakota Dozier and Dru Samia, and the nomination of rookie Kellen Mond at QB2 (Jake Browning was released). Other than those items, the 53-man arrangement was fairly business as usual.

The unsung takeaway pertains to Christian Darrisaw, a left tackle drafted by general manager Rick Spielman with the 23rd overall pick last April. Darrisaw – often forecasted as a Top 15 pick in the leadup to the draft – tumbled to Minnesota after Spielman traded his 14th pick to the New York Jets for two 3rd-Rounders (Kellen Mond, Wyatt Davis) and nine spots of draft positioning. The haul of Darrisaw, Mond, and Davis was championed by most football brains. When Minnesota hit summer, though, the enthusiasm on Darrisaw severely tapered. Where the hell is he? was the sentiment.

Darrisaw saw virtually no training camp or preseason action, creating “bust” chatter just weeks into his Vikings life. Of course, that was wildly premature and unfair, but The Digital Age doesn’t care about perspective and patience.

Doomsdayers were vindicated, at least for a couple of weeks, when Darrisaw opted for a second surgery on his core muscle, thus totally canceling any chance the young man had to participate in summer activities. In his absence, Minnesota chose not to sign any free-agents left tackles – they have the money to do so – instead pivoting to backup LT Rashod Hill as the patchwork plan until Darrisaw is ready.

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The takeaway regarding Darrisaw and the 53-man roster? He was not placed on the IR. It would’ve shelved the Virginia Tech alumnus for three games at minimum. An IR stint for Darrisaw would’ve bolstered the case for his rough start in Minnesota while guaranteeing he avoided the field for three weeks.

But that didn’t happen.

When head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t tell all about Danielle Hunter’s injury last year, his credibility dipped as Vikings fans now believe every injury-related tidbit escaping his lips is a lie. That’s a harsh stance to take, but again – The Digital Age. The Darrisaw injury started to feel like Hunter and the summer of 2020 all over again. And tossing Darrisaw on the early-season IR could have been a smoking gun for that parallel.

However, the outlook now is more optimistic with Darrisaw stiff-arming the IR. It is unclear if he’ll see Week 1 action at Cincinnati – he probably, you know, needs to practice a bit – but the forecast does not seem as grim as once feared. Thankfully against the Bengals, Cincinnati possesses nowhere near a Top 10 defensive line. So, if there was “ever a game” for Darrisaw to miss out of the gate, the Bengals would be a candidate. Put simply, their pass rush pales in comparison to other NFL teams.

The important aspect now is for Darrisaw to get action by any means necessary. He needs to mature quickly so he can jell with Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Oli Udoh, and Brian O’Neill. In all likelihood, Darrisaw won’t be Randall McDaniel right away, but the sooner he can begin developing – the better for this brand of Vikings.

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Minnesota has failed several years in a row to nail down the pass-protecting proficiency of its offensive line. Darrisaw is supposed to help fix that. He needs to see the field in this penultimate season for the Vikings.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday along with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).



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