LET'S GOOOOOOO!@brian_oneill_ has signed a contract extension.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 8, 2021
Heading into the preseason, the Vikings ranked 30th among the NFL's 32 teams in cap space allocated to the offensive line, with two rookies in Wyatt Davis and Christian Darrisaw potentially starting alongside 2019 first-round center Garrett Bradbury and 2020 second-round guard Ezra Cleveland. The Vikings are still in the bottom five after O'Neill's new money is accounted for.
Since 2019, O'Neill's 71.6 pass-blocking grade ranks 17th among qualifying right tackles while his 78.7 run-blocking grade ranks eighth. He has generated the ninth-most WAR (PFF's wins above replacement metric) among right tackles over the span.
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O’Neill is on an upward trajectory: The fourth-year tackle out of the University of Pittsburgh has increased his PFF grade in each of his first three seasons, finishing his 2020 campaign ranked 11th among qualifying right tackles.
Brian O’Neill PFF grades by season
Right tackle was the lone bright spot on the Vikings' offensive line in 2020: Collectively, the Vikings' left tackle, left guard, center and right guard positions finished with a PFF grade rank of 20th or lower out of 32 offenses last season. Right tackle was the lone position along the offensive line to break that trend.
There’s reason to believe O’Neill can continue to improve: Research done by PFF’s Timo Riske shows that tackles continue to improve into their fourth NFL season, unlike most positions that plateau by Year 4.
Vikings Win Total: Minnesota continues to showcase a win-now mentality by trading for a fill-in at the tight end position. However, the downgrade from Smith to Herndon is a net negative for the Vikings and another reason to pile onto the Vikings under 8.5 game win total at the +120 price. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.
Dalvin Cook Player Props: The Vikings want their offense to flow through Cook, but injuries to a number of skill position players could cause Minnesota to fall behind early in games, which would limit his rushing volume. PFF's fantasy projections see Cook hitting 285.5 rush attempts but falling over 100 yards short of his rushing yardage prop. If game script forces the Vikings into a pass-heavy approach, Cook should finish well short of his 1375.5 prop number. Hammer the under. Click here for PFF's Fantasy Projections.
Dalvin Cook stock up: The Vikings' move to lock up their most consistent lineman bodes well for another top-three fantasy finish from Dalvin Cook. Expect the running lanes to be wide opening Week 1 versus the Bengals, with PFF's OL/DL chart giving Minnesota the biggest advantage among all teams. Click here for PFF's fantasy projections.
Buy Justin Jefferson: O'Neil's presence as a stout right tackle ensures Kirk Cousins is kept clean, which can only mean great things for wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The rookie was PFF's fifth-highest graded WR (90.7) when targeted from a clean pocket. Adam Thielen ranked seventh (89.9). Click here for PFF's fantasy rankings.