Set to return their entire starting offensive line, the Vikings are also retaining multiple key backups. Oli Udoh will be one of them, with CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reporting (via Twitter) the veteran swingman agreed to terms Saturday to stay with the team.
Udoh has started at multiple positions for the Vikings. He spent the 2021 season as the team’s full-time right guard starter, and after Brian O’Neill went down in January, the former Minnesota sixth-round pick finished the season as the team’s first-string right tackle. Udoh joins interior O-line backup Austin Schlottmann as having agreed to stay in Minnesota this week.
Despite most of Minnesota’s O-linemen being in place before the arrivals of Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the team will be running it back up front in 2023. Center Garrett Bradbury re-signed with the team on a three-year, $15.75MM deal, and Ed Ingram joins Christian Darrisaw and Ezra Cleveland on rookie contracts. O’Neill is signed to a long-term extension.
While Schlottmann arrived in Minneapolis during the new Vikings regime’s first year in charge, Udoh joined the team under Rick Spielman back in 2019. Udoh, who emerged on the draft radar out of Division I-FCS Elon, spent two seasons as a backup before winning the starting right guard job in 2021. He started 16 games in 2021, ranking outside the top 60 at guard in the view of Pro Football Focus that year. The Vikings opted to replace Udoh with Ingram last year, after an offseason during which they added Chris Reed and Jesse Davis. But Udoh, 26, now remains in the picture beyond his rookie contract.
The Vikings played without Bradbury for a stretch late last season, and they lost O’Neill in Week 17. The team called upon Udoh to start the season finale and the team’s wild-card playoff game. PFF viewed Udoh’s two-game tackle sample as much better, though obviously in a much smaller sample size. He, Schlottmann and Reed will be back in position to be the team’s second-stringers up front.
O’Neill’s partially torn Achilles brought Udoh into the lineup, but despite the injury occurring in January, ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert notes (via Twitter) Minnesota’s longtime right tackle starter is expected back by training camp.