It must be training camp hype season because second-year left tackle Christian Darrisaw was compared to Trent Williams on Tuesday by NBC Sports’ Albert Breer — by way of the Vikings coaching staff.
Breer is touring all NFL teams’ training camps, stopping in Eagan, Minnesota, this week. He gathered five takeaways from his Vikings visit, and somehow the Darrisaw-Williams comparison dribbled into his assessment.
Williams is a nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro whose career has spanned 12 seasons to date. In quarterback-speak, the likening of Darrisaw to Williams is about like saying Mac Jones is shades of Aaron Rodgers.
Darrisaw saw was drafted by the Vikings in 2021 with the 23rd overall pick after Minnesota traded back with the New York Jets to also land Kellen Mond (QB) and Wyatt Davis (OG). He was beset by injury to start his rookie campaign but entered the fold in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions. From then on, the Virginia Tech alumnus was pretty steady on the Vikings offensive line.
Minnesota had a need at left tackle as Riley Reiff departed for the Cincinnati Bengals during 2021 free agency. Reiff has since latched on to the rival Chicago Bears. And because the Vikings haven’t showcased a mainstay left tackle since the days of Bryant McKinnie, the enthusiasm by fans for Darrisaw to shine was palpable.
And Darrisaw didn’t disappoint during his maiden voyage.
Darrisaw registered a 71.9 grade from Pro Football Focus as a rookie, fourth-best among all first-year tackles. The 71.9 score is also a terrific building block for Darrisaw, who embarks on his second season inside a new offense led by head coach Kevin O’Connell.
All told, Darrisaw played 652 total offensive snaps while allowing five sacks. He’ll also benefit from practicing against Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith at Vikings training camp.
The Williams congruence for Darrisaw is a little dreamy as he probably needs about five more seasons under his belt to generate those types of kudos. But it’s better than coaching staff scratching heads trying to determine “what do at left tackle,” a question asked by those affiliated with the Vikings in the 2010s.
Finally, Darrisaw has ambitious goals. In June, he told the Pioneer Press, “I’ve got a lot more work to do. I’m trying to get to that Pro Bowl.”
A Vikings left tackle hasn’t reached a Pro Bowl in 10 years — Matt Kalil in 2012.
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).