At Minnesota Vikings training camp, folks will monitor the QB2 battle, hoping to learn if Kellen Mond overtakes Sean Mannion. Some will focus on the outcome of the starting cornerback competition involving Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and Andrew Booth. And the rest will keep an eye on rookie safety Lewis Cine versus Camryn Bynum.
But no battle is as fascinating as the right guard tryst.
In a vacuum, a right guard competition should never be the most interesting camp battle. But these are the Vikings we’re talking about — a team that has struggled at RG for four seasons. Moreover, Minnesota’s offensive trenches via pass protection have floundered for multiple consecutive seasons.
This is the Vikings predicament for pass protection during the Mike Zimmer era:
Vikings OL Pass Protection,
NFL Ranking from PFF,
2014 = 23rd
2015 = 28th
2016 = 30th
2017 = 17th
2018 = 27th
2019 = 27th
2020 = 29th
2021 = 27th
So, this is why the RG showdown is a big deal. Here are the contenders.
Because he was a 2nd-Round draft pick in April, this guy should start. Plain and simple. End of article.
Not quite. Ingram hasn’t signed his rookie contract yet and is thus not considered the sure-fire starter. Interior offensive linemen drafted with high draft capital, like Ingram, shouldn’t waste away on the bench. It’s silly.
Ingram arrived to the Vikings with a checkered past, but Minnesota’s general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah insisted the ballclub did the diligence on his resume. Again, he should start. Otherwise, the Vikings could’ve drafted a non-interior-OL with the pick used on Ingram. Guards can often be found in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th Round of the draft. When Ingram was plucked in Round 2, it should mean he’s a Year One starter. We shall see.
During Vikings minicamp last month, Davis strutted out of the event as the frontrunner to start at RG. That’s a wee bit strange because he’s a tackle who came to Minnesota from the Miami Dolphins in free agency. However, Davis did play at guard in 2017 and 2018, according to Stathead.
As a tackle in 2021, Davis fired up a 52.5 grade from Pro Football Focus — not exactly dazzling.
Overall, get familiar with this name because he should play a prominent role somewhere on the Vikings line. For now, he’s “the man to beat” at right guard.
Based on the unknown of Ingram’s acclamation as a rookie and Davis’ resume as a tackle, Reed is the best option, on paper, to start at RG for the 2022 Vikings. His 67.2 score from PFF was rather good and that was as a guard, unlike Davis.
Somehow, however, Reed feels like the third option to Davis and Ingram. Whoodathunkit?
Reed is a name to watch at camp because he could sneakily seize the job. His career progression merits it. A good backup guard for the Indianapolis Colts who bolted for a team with a terrible offensive line — should have more than a puncher’s chance to win a starting job.
Thankfully, sizing up a threeway solution is more than Minnesota has done for RG problem-solving amid the last three seasons. With the previous coaching regime, men like Dakota Dozier, Dru Samia, and Oli Udoh were the proposed fixes. Now, though, Ingram, Davis, and Reed would all have to be awful for the RG malady not to finally experience repair.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday 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).