3 breakout candidates on the Minnesota Vikings

Christian Barrisaw will shine in 2022

By: Jake Rajala

The Minnesota Vikings have new energy under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell. With that said, I’m going to simply untwine three profiles to keep an eye on in OTAs – as they could turn heads in 2022.

Irv Smith Jr.

The Vikings 23-year-old TE Irv Smith Jr. hauled in five touchdowns (in 13 games) in 2020. Unfortunately, Smith Jr. missed the entire 2021 season via a meniscus injury. I really expect the athletic TE returns healthy, improve his tool-kit, and be quite involved under his creative HC. Per Vikings Territory, Smith has already had great communication with Cousins and he also feels that he will be targeted a lot in the offense. Smith Jr. should honestly have superb match-ups with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook mostly hogging the attention of opposing defenses.

Christian Darrisaw

The Vikings 2021 first-round draft pick Christian Darrisaw had a roller-coaster rookie season. Most importantly, he progressed as the season 2021 season evolved. PFF graded his five best games in the final six games of the season. The high-powered offense will desperately need consistent, blind-side protection and the confident Darrisaw should continue to build off his recent rookie performances.

Cameron Dantzler

The third-year CB Cameron Dantzler is off to a good start in 2022. Per Inside the Vikings, Dantzler has added more weight to his frame this off-season. He’s also gotten stronger and quicker. His weakness was his size, but it’s clear that he really became well-rounded this off-season. With Patrick Peterson at CB1, the young CB could aspire to bully WR2s on a frequent basis moving forward.

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