Garrett Bradbury, Vikings O-Line: From Zeros to Heroes
Through five games, the Minnesota Vikings have proven to be a flawed team that knows how to win. The victories haven’t been all that pretty, but their 4-1 record is good enough for sole possession of 1st place in the NFC North.
So what’s holding their ship steady through these early rapids? Well, Kirk Cousins found his clutch gene, Kevin O’Connell has shown some play-calling genius and Justin Jefferson’s been a superstar. But behind all of that is the most consistent offensive line the Minnesota Vikings have employed for a decade.
Starts at center
And believe it or not, the o-line turnaround starts with center, Garrett Bradbury. Yes, the same Garrett Bradbury who the entire fanbase was calling on to be cut during training camp. All of the advanced metrics and grades say the same thing.
Bradbury, and the rest of the Minnesota Moving Co, has been good. Four of the Vikings’ five offensive linemen rank in PFF’s top-15 at their respective positions.
OC Wes Phillips today on Garrett Bradbury: "I know people had questions from the past. I really don't need to comment on that except to say he's done an excellent job."— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) October 13, 2022
It’d be near impossible to argue against Garrett Bradbury as a top-10 NFL center, so far in 2022. As Siefert tweeted above, Bradbury ranks top-5 in both run and pass block win rates (ESPN) league-wide. And his 66.0 PFF grade is 9th best among qualified centers.
Even more incredible: His Pass Block grade (72.0) at PFF is higher than his run block grade (66.2). We didn’t think Garrett had a pass block anchor but he’s clearly found something that’s keeping him from being consistently run over by DT twice his size.
O-Line another reason for optimism
There’s good reason to be concerned with parts of what you have seen from the Minnesota Vikings so far this season. There defense has been way too much “bend but don’t break”, Danielle Hunter is struggling to grasp the 3-4 scheme and Kirk Cousins’ efficiency numbers are down across the board.
But if you stay on the positive side, it’s safe to assume the Vikings will only get better as the year goes along. Both the offense and defense are learning new schemes and there’s no chance players feel fully comfortable this early in the process.
Yet, as they’re learning, they’ve stacked wins. As they improve, those victories should come easier. And if the offensive line, especially veteran center Garrett Bradbury, continue to be a strength of this team… who knows how good they could be in a couple of months.
Garrett Bradbury taking down #96 for the Bears. What a difference a year makes- on both sides. pic.twitter.com/mjDfqOvJt7— Warren Ludford (@wludford) October 12, 2022
Garrett Bradbury taking down Armon Watts pic.twitter.com/1Ob1xFNf8N— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) October 9, 2022
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan