Christian Darrisaw

Vikings, LT Christian Darrisaw Agree To Extension

Christian Darrisaw has landed a big-ticket deal with the Vikings. The left tackle agreed to am extension on Tuesday, as first reported by Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

This will be a four-year pact worth up to $113MM, ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds. Darrisaw will collect $77MM in guaranteed money, including $43.7MM locked in at signing. The offensive lineman still had two years remaining on his contract after having his fifth-year option picked up earlier this offseason.

This four-year extension will be added to the end of Darrisaw’s rookie deal, meaning the 25-year-old is locked in through the 2029 campaign. Considering general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wasn’t in place when the Virginia Tech alum was drafted, there was some uncertainty regarding the timeliness of a potential Darrisaw extension. Ultimately, the two sides completed a deal with time to spare.

The 2021 first-round pick has established himself as one of the league’s top OTs while blocking for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota. Pro Football Focus graded Darrisaw as the second-best offensive tackle in 2022, and he followed that up with an eighth-place finish (among 81 qualifiers) in 2023. The lineman has missed 10 regular season games in three years, but he managed to get into a career-high 15 games this past season.

While Darrisaw still has a few years before the extension kicks in, the new deal will vault him up the list of the league’s highest-paid left tackles. The $77MM in guaranteed money is now the highest commitment at his position, and the extension’s $28.25MM average annual value would top Laremy Tunsil‘s $25MM AAV. Darrisaw still has about $20MM coming his way in the final two seasons of his current deal.

As the Vikings transition from the veteran Cousins to a rookie in J.J. McCarthy, the front office is assuring some continuity elsewhere on offense. McCarthy’s rookie contract has also allowed the organization to allocate finances elsewhere. In addition to Darrisaw’s new contract, the Vikings also handed wideout Justin Jefferson a lucrative extension this offseason.

While there’s a bit of uncertainty surrounding the offense moving forward, the Vikings can rest easy knowing their core is locked in. In addition to Darrisaw, Jefferson, and McCarthy, the team has Jordan Addison on his rookie contract and tight end T.J. Hockenson signed long-term.

Latest On Vikings, LT Christian Darrisaw

While it took longer than many expected, the Vikings managed to hammer out a monster extension with Justin Jefferson. The team can now turn its attention to other financial priorities, one of which is a second contract for left tackle Christian Darrisaw

[RELATED: Vikings Likely To Make DL, CB Additions?]

The latter has cemented himself as Minnesota’s blindside blocker, logging 39 starts in 41 games. Darrisaw has become one of the league’s top young offensive linemen over that span, and as a result it came as no surprise when the Vikings picked up his fifth-year option. That has him on track to earn $16.04MM in 2025.

A multi-year extension will check in at a much higher cost, of course. Despite having two years to work out an agreement, talks on an extension are underway. Nothing is imminent at this time, but Darrisaw profiles as a logical extension candidate as a foundational member of the Vikings’ offensive corps. Jefferson and tight end T.J. Hockenson are both on the books for years to come given their respective extensions. Other key offensive players – including wideout Jordan Addison and quarterback J.J. McCarthy – are under team control through the foreseeable future via their rookie contracts.

Alec Lewis of The Athletic notes the Vikings remain interested in working out a Darrisaw extension (subscription required). As he notes, though, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah – who was not in place when the Virginia Tech alum was drafted – has a deliberate process when it comes to in-house deals. Lewis adds Minnesota is in “no rush” on the Darrisaw front, but a deal near the top of the tackle market could still be on the horizon.

Penei Sewell signed the league’s most lucrative tackle pact despite playing on the right side. In terms of blindside protectors, five players average more than $20MM per year on their respective deals with Laremy Tunsil leading the way at a $25MM AAV. Darrisaw may not reach that level, but Lewis notes he recently changed agents; Drew Rosenhaus now represents him. It will be interesting to see if that change leads to traction being gained as it pertains to negotiations.

As things stand, Minnesota is set to be among the league leaders in 2025 cap space. A free agent departure ahead of next year is not an option for Darrisaw, but the Vikings will have plenty of flexibility to structure a multi-year investment. If team and player display a mutual desire to work out an agreement, a sizable extension could be in place well before his rookie deal expires.

Vikings, LT Christian Darrisaw Begin Extension Talks

Vikings extension rumors still center around one of their 2020 first-round picks, but the final first-rounder from Rick Spielman‘s GM tenure is also now eligible for a big-ticket deal. Although Justin Jefferson is not yet signed, the Vikings have also begun talks with their 2021 first-round pick.

Christian Darrisaw has become one of the NFL’s better tackles, and he is now under contract through 2025 by virtue of Minnesota making the predictable call to exercise his fifth-year option. Although the Vikings have some time with Darrisaw, ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert notes the team has begun extension discussions with its fourth-year left tackle.

GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah‘s draft choices are not yet extension-eligible, but his predecessor left the team with two cornerstones. Jefferson looks to be angling for the NFL’s top non-quarterback contract, which could take the wide receiver market to or beyond $35MM per year. Darrisaw will likely be aiming at a top-market LT accord. The former No. 23 overall pick has been Minnesota’s LT starter since Week 6 of his rookie season.

No Pro Bowls appear on Darrisaw’s resume, but he has received quality reviews. ESPN’s run block win rate metric ranked the Virginia Tech product sixth in 2022; Pro Football Focus slotted him second among all tackles that season. PFF graded Darrisaw as the NFL’s eighth-best tackle last season. Set to turn 25 on Sunday, Darrisaw should be coming into his prime.

The Vikings are shifting their expenses around this offseason, having separated from Kirk Cousins after six years. But a $28.5MM dead money bill is still due this year because of the void years the team placed on its longtime QB1’s contract. Minnesota, however, will be clear of that charge by 2025, when the team will be building around J.J. McCarthy‘s rookie deal. With the No. 10 overall pick tied to a rookie contract through at least 2026, the Vikings have some opportunities to load up their roster around the Michigan prospect. The Vikings also have just one O-lineman (right tackle Brian O’Neill) signed to an upper-crust contract.

While Jefferson is tied to a fifth-year option for this season, the Vikings picking up Darrisaw’s option ($16MM) covers the 2025 campaign. Minnesota has some time with its blindside blocker, and Seifert adds nothing is viewed as imminent. Since the 2011 CBA brought the fifth-year option, the Vikings have never gone through with an extension for a first-rounder with two years of control remaining. Darrisaw is currently tied to a $2.48MM base salary.

Laremy Tunsil‘s $25MM-per-year deal leads left tackles, but the Lions gave Penei Sewell $28MM per year to introduce a new tier for the RT market. How the Buccaneers proceed with Tristan Wirfs will be pivotal as well. While the Vikings may not be keen on matching where the Bucs go for Wirfs, as the former Super Bowl starter is a two-time All-Pro, that extension moving the market would pertain to Minnesota’s Darrisaw talks. For now, the fourth-year lineman is clearly in the NFC North club’s long-term plans.

Vikings Pick Up LT Christian Darrisaw’s Fifth-Year Option

To no surprise, Christian Darrisaw will remain in place with the Vikings for at least the next two years. The standout left tackle had his 2025 fifth-year option picked up on Monday, per a team announcement.

[RELATED: Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Darrisaw has started all but two of his games with Minnesota to date, serving as the team’s blindside protector. The 23rd overall pick in the 2021 draft does not have a Pro Bowl invite to his name, but his snap shares easily qualify him for the second-highest tier in terms of option values. As a result, he will earn $16.04MM in 2025.

A multi-year extension is no doubt one of the Vikings’ top priorities in Darrisaw’s case, though, and a long-term commitment will be much more expensive. The top of the left tackle market reached $25MM per season when Laremy Tunsil worked out his latest Texans agreement. Penei Sewell recently signed the league’s most lucrative deal at any O-line spot with his Lions extension ($28MM per year). Darrisaw could command a deal near the top of the pecking order on a second contract.

The latter received a PFF grade of 71.9 as a rookie, but his second season in the league produced a notable step forward in performance. Darrisaw saw his overall grade jump to 90.4 in 2022, the second-highest mark in the league amongst tackles. This past season, he graded out in seventh at the position. Darrisaw was charged with six sacks allowed and seven penalties by PFF, but continued development through the coming years would make a long-term investment a sound one on the part of the Vikings.

Minnesota already has right tackle Brian O’Neill on the books through 2026 on his own lucrative extension. The team also retained center Garrett Bradbury last offseason on a three-year pact worth $15.75MM. Keeping Darrisaw in the fold for years to come will add further to the cash and cap investments made up front, but it would come as little surprise if a long-term pact were to be worked out. At a minimum, today’s decision will serve as a placeholder buying extra time for negotiations.

2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2021 first-rounders. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternates) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag
  • Players who achieve any of the following will receive the average of the third-20th-highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position

With the deadline looming, we will use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($25.66MM): Exercised
  2. QB Zach Wilson, Broncos* ($22.41MM): Declined
  3. QB Trey Lance, Cowboys** ($22.41MM): Declined
  4. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($10.88MM): Exercised
  5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals ($21.82MM): Exercised
  6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($15.59MM): Exercised
  7. T Penei Sewell, Lions ($19MM): Extended through 2029
  8. CB Jaycee Horn, Panthers ($12.47MM): Exercised
  9. CB Patrick Surtain, Broncos ($19.82MM): Exercised
  10. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($15.59MM): Extended through 2028
  11. QB Justin Fields, Steelers*** ($25.66MM): Declined
  12. DE Micah Parsons, Cowboys ($21.32MM): Exercised
  13. T Rashawn Slater, Chargers ($19MM): Exercised
  14. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets ($13.31MM): Exercised
  15. QB Mac Jones, Jaguars**** ($25.66MM): Declined
  16. LB Zaven Collins, Cardinals ($13.25MM): Declined
  17. T Alex Leatherwood, Raiders: N/A
  18. LB Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins ($13.3MM): Exercised
  19. LB Jamin Davis, Commanders ($14.48MM): Declined
  20. WR Kadarius Toney, Chiefs***** ($14.35MM): Declined
  21. DE Kwity Paye, Colts ($13.4MM): Exercised
  22. CB Caleb Farley, Titans ($12.47MM): Declined
  23. T Christian Darrisaw, Vikings ($16MM): Exercised
  24. RB Najee Harris, Steelers ($6.79MM): Declined
  25. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6.14MM): Exercised
  26. CB Greg Newsome, Browns ($13.38MM): To be exercised
  27. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens ($14.35MM): N/A; extended through 2026
  28. DE Payton Turner, Saints ($13.39MM): Declined
  29. CB Eric Stokes, Packers ($12.47MM): Declined
  30. DE Greg Rousseau, Bills ($13.39MM): Exercised
  31. LB Odafe Oweh, Ravens ($13.25MM): Exercised
  32. LB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Buccaneers ($13.25MM): Declined

* = Jets traded Wilson on April 22, 2024
** = 49ers traded Lance on August 25, 2023
*** = Bears traded Fields on March 16, 2024
**** = Patriots traded Jones on March 10, 2024
***** = Giants traded Toney on October 27, 2022

Vikings OL Oli Udoh Out For Season

Late in Thursday night’s game, the Vikings needed to turn to their third-string left tackle. With Christian Darrisaw on the sidelines, Oli Udoh had stepped in. But what turned out to be a serious quad injury led him off the field as well.

David Quessenberry finished the narrow loss to the Eagles at left tackle. The veteran looks likely to be bumped up a spot on the Vikings’ depth chart soon. Udoh suffered what turned out to be a torn quad tendon, Kevin O’Connell said Friday (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling). The backup blocker is out for the season.

The Vikings re-signed Udoh in March, giving the former guard starter a one-year, $2.58MM deal. The team fully guaranteed the pact at that point. While Udoh collected a bit of cash to stay in Minnesota, his career will pause for an extended period.

Udoh started 16 games at right guard for the Vikings in 2021, but the team drafted Ed Ingram in the 2022 second round to replace him. Once Ingram won that job, Udoh shifted to a role as a swing tackle. He replaced Brian O’Neill on the right side to close last season, after the veteran starter suffered a major injury, and started in place of Darrisaw against the Eagles. Minnesota played without both Darrisaw and center Garrett Bradbury against Philadelphia.

The Vikings added Quessenberry shortly after the Bills released him on roster-cutdown day. Quessenberry, 33, has made 26 starts in his career; 17 of those came with the Titans in 2021. He served as the Bills’ swing tackle last season but saw rookie UDFA Ryan Van Demark beat him out for the job this year. The Vikings gave the seventh-year veteran an opportunity, however, and may need to rely on him as the top backup to Darrisaw and O’Neill going forward. O’Connell is optimistic Darrisaw returns for Week 3, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com notes.

Vikings Expect TE Irv Smith Jr. To Return During Regular Season

The Vikings expect to have TE Irv Smith Jr. back on the field before the end of the regular season, as head coach Kevin O’Connell recently told reporters, including Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Smith suffered an ankle injury in Minnesota’s Week 8 victory over the Cardinals and was placed on injured reserve shortly thereafter.

The injury to Smith prompted the Vikes to swing an intra-divisional trade for former Lions TE T.J. Hockenson. Since the trade, Hockenson is averaging six catches and 45 yards per game as part of an offense that also includes wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Smith, who missed all of the 2021 season due to a meniscus tear, would represent an intriguing, high-upside complement to that group of pass-catchers. The team ranks in the top-10 in both passing yards per game and points per game, and adding Smith back into the mix could make its aerial attack even more formidable.

A 2019 second-round draft choice, Smith will be eligible for free agency at season’s end. Obviously, this year’s ankle injury coupled with his 2021 absence have not allowed him to generate much momentum towards a lucrative, multi-year pact, so he will likely be looking at one-year offers this offseason. Minnesota could be interested in a reunion, as Hockenson’s fifth-year option salary and cap charge of $9.4MM is manageable — his cap number could be further reduced with an extension — and there are no other particularly appealing tight ends on the roster.

In related news, the Vikings are without left tackle Christian Darrisaw for the third consecutive game on Sunday. However, Darrisaw has reportedly cleared the concussion protocol and should therefore have a good chance to suit up for the team’s Week 15 matchup with the Colts (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). Safety Harrison Smith, meanwhile, will miss Sunday’s game against the Lions as well due to a neck injury.

The 10-2 Vikings have a five-game advantage in the NFC North and are just one game back of the 11-1 Eagles for the top seed in the NFC (though Philadelphia enjoys the tiebreaker by virtue of its Week 2 victory over Minnesota). Their divisional cushion is allowing them to be cautious with some of their top players.

Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson To Return In Week 13

The Vikings will welcome back a key member of their defense when they take on the Jets tomorrow. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is set to return in Week 13, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.

The 28-year-old has been battling a calf injury, and has been sidelined since Week 9 as a result. He has made steady progress in recent days while practicing, though, which led to optimism that he would be available to suit up on Sunday against the Jets. His presence will be felt along the Minnesota’s defensive line.

Tomlinson has been a full-time starter in each of his two years with the Vikings, after he signed a $22MM deal in free agency last offseason. In 2022, the former Giants second-rounder has totaled 20 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Along the way, he has logged a career-high 64% snap share, demonstrating his importance to a Vikings d-line which parted ways with veteran Michael Pierce in the spring.

In other injury news, rookie cornerback Akayleb Evans has cleared concussion protocol, setting him up to play and start on Sunday as well. That will be a welcomed development, given the fourth-rounder’s added importance for the remainder of the campaign in the wake of Andrew Booth‘s season-ending knee injury. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said that Booth’s surgery consisted of repairing his meniscus, which will lengthen his recovery timeline (Twitter link via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune). That will leave significant expectations for Evans for the foreseeable future, as he steps into a starting role on a secondary which is surrendering a league-worst average of 276 passing yards per game.

Left tackle Christian Darrisaw is still in the concussion protocol, per O’Connell. That will lead to a second consecutive missed game for the 2021 first-rounder; no timetable is in place for him to return to action at this point. Minnesota will likely turn to 2020 sixth-rounder Blake Brandel to make his second consecutive start this week, one in which the Vikings could clinch the NFC North title.

Vikings T Christian Darrisaw Suffers Concussion, Likely To Miss Next Week

In a thumping by the Cowboys today, the Vikings offensive line took a big hit. Second-year starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw was knocked out of the game with a concussion, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. With a Thursday night matchup against the Patriots incoming quickly just four days away, this would be an opportunity to see how seriously the NFL will take its new concussion protocols. Fortunately for Darrisaw, head coach Kevin O’Connell has no intentions of rushing the 23-year-old back onto the field, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. O’Connell told reporters that they intend to be cautious with Darrisaw and won’t play him on Thursday, giving him a full two weeks to come back.

Since being drafted 23rd overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Darrisaw has certainly played up to his draft stock. After missing the beginning of his rookie season with an injury, Darrisaw quickly came into the starting left tackle job and, aside from a two-week absence later on in his rookie year, he’s held down the spot ever since.

As one of the premier players on a Vikings team that has exceeded all expectations this season, O’Connell’s decision makes perfect sense. At 8-2, Minnesota is eons ahead of the second-place team in their division, the Lions (4-6). Even the usually mighty Packers are far behind at 4-7. This cushion makes it an easy decision for the head coach. No need to rush their young, star blindside blocker back in a short week and risk doing far more harmful damage to a player who could lead their offensive line for years to come.

If all works according to plan, Darrisaw will be able to return in time for the team’s Week 13 matchup against the Jets. In Darrisaw’s absence, the Vikings have a couple avenues they can explore. When he left the game today, Minnesota replaced Darrisaw with Blake Brandel. They can stay with that route and give Brandel the first start of his NFL career or they can start Olisaemeka Udoh, who has much more starting experience. The downside is, while Udoh does have experience at tackle, his starting experience was at right guard.

With rookie sixth-round pick Vederian Lowe and veteran Chris Reed dealing with injuries, as well, that only leaves Austin Schlottmann from today’s gameday roster as another available option. Schlottmann isn’t a great option, as he is fairly exclusively an interior lineman, so it looks like the job to replace Darrisaw next week will be between Udoh and Brandel.

Vikings Extend QB Kirk Cousins Through 2023

New Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell wanted a chance to build an offense around quarterback Kirk Cousins. Well, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, he will get his chance as the Vikings will sign Cousins to a one-year, $35MM extension that will keep him in Minnesota through the 2023 NFL season. 

The Vikings reportedly had been receiving calls on Cousins, but the new coaching staff and general manager are declaring their commitment to the veteran quarterback and gaining some much needed cap space in the process.

Cousins’ scheduled cap hit for 2022 was set to be the largest in NFL history at $45MM. The extension reduces his 2022 cap number to $31.42MM, granting Minnesota a little over $13.5MM in cap space. In addition, Cousins will see a raise, making $40MM this season and $30MM in 2023. The deal includes phantom, voidable years in 2024 & 2025 that allow them to reduce the cap hits in ’22 and ’23.

Say what you will about Cousins pay and performance, but after receiving two consecutive franchise tags in Washington, a three-year fully-guaranteed contract to join the Vikings, and two fully-guaranteed extensions to stay in Minnesota, Cousins has secured eight-straight seasons of guaranteed contracts.

There are expectations for Cousins to thrive under O’Connell. With offensive weapons like running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, wide receivers Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and K.J. Osborn, and tight end Irv Smith Jr. all returning, the familiarity of personnel should make up for the new playbook. The bookends of the offensive line seem set with Christian Darrisaw showing promise after a delayed debut and Brian O’Neill making the Pro Bowl last year. There are some questions to be answered on the interior of the line, but the pieces, for the most part, are there.

The onus will now be on the coaching staff and front office to make offseason improvements to a defense that struggled mightily last year. The Vikings defense allowed the third-most yards in the league and the ninth-most points. If the new leaders in Minnesota can turn around that unit, look for Minnesota to make a play for a playoff spot and potentially even challenge the perennial NFC North power from Green Bay for the division.