EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings drafted tackle Blake Brandel in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 203rd overall pick.
The 23-year-old is from Milwaukie, Oregon, and played collegiately at Oregon State.
Brandel (pronounced Bran-dull) is the first player ever selected by Minnesota from the 203rd overall spot.
View the sketch of Vikings draft pick T Blake Brandel who was transformed into a caricature by local artist Erik Roadfeldt.
Here are five things to know about the new Vikings tackle:
1. He started them all
After redshirting in 2015, Brandel started the first three games of 2016 at left tackle before opening the final nine at right tackle. He closed his college career by opening his final 36 games at left tackle.
Brandel's 48 starts are tied for the third-most in school history, and only two Beavers players opened more games in a row (Roy Schuening, 50 games from 2004-07 and Richard Seigler, 49 from 2000-03).
Asked about his streak after his selection by Minnesota, he expressed gratitude.
"I think part of it is general luck because football is a physical game, contact sport," Brandel said. "Guys are going to get hurt; but I'd also like to thank my strength and conditioning staff that's helped me out at Oregon State because without those guys, I'm sure there'd be a lot more injuries. They've helped me out a ton, too."
2. Blocks and books
Brandel was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team by multiple outlets during his senior season for which he was a team captain.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus issued a grade of 93.1 for Brandel's pass blocking last season, which was the best in the nation after he was judged to have allowed just one sack and four quarterback hurries. PFF graded Brandel at 90 overall and 82.5 in run blocking.
Brandel was named Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention three times from 2016-18, and he graduated with a degree in business administration.
3. OK with at least one Duck
Brandel's selection occurred on the same day the Vikings tabbed Oregon linebacker Troy Dye in the fourth round.
The Oregon State-Oregon series is referred to as "The Civil War," and it is the fifth-most played college football rivalry game. The first football game between the schools occurred in 1894.
That said, Brandel vouched for Dye.
"We're teammates now. That dude is a fierce competitor, and he's obviously a great linebacker, too," Brandel said. "I know that I've got a good teammate in him because that guy plays the game the right way and he plays hard. Duck and Beav', I know there's a huge rivalry, but … I'm glad to have him on my team."
Dye is one of five former Ducks now on the Vikings roster, joining WR Bralon Addison, undrafted free agent T Brady Aiello, RB Tony Brooks-James and WR Dillon Mitchell.
Brandel can turn to QB Sean Mannion, who holds Beavers career records for passing yards (13,600), completions (1,187), attempts (1,838), completion percentage (64.6), passing touchdowns (83) and 11 games with at least 350 passing yards.
4. Role model
Although Brandel grew up in Oregon, he drew inspiration from former Michigan left tackle Jake Long, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Long started 99 of 104 games, garnered a Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons and an All-Pro selection in 2010. After injuries decimated the Vikings offensive line in 2016, Long signed with Minnesota. He opened three of four games before also suffering a season-ending injury in what proved to be his final pro game.
But for Brandel, Long became his favorite player when he was still in Ann Arbor.
"My dad raised me, so I was a little bit of a Michigan fan," Brandel said. "We would always wake up early in the mornings on Saturdays and watch them play in the Big House. They were always talking about him because he's a big guy. He played the same position that I did when I was playing in elementary school and everything, so watching him, he was a big-time draft pick. It was always cool to watch him go from college to the pros. He's just always been part of my fandom."
5. Give it a try
Asked what he likes to do off the field, Brandel described himself as a "pretty boring guy" and "kind of a typical offensive lineman."
In addition to spending time with family and watching football and other sports, Brandel has tried his hand on the links and the water.
"I try to play golf, try to fish — not very good at either one of them," Brandel said. "Other than that, I'm just kind of laid back."