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How Christian Darrisaw's Gains in Pass Blocking Showed up for Vikings

EAGAN, Minn. – Christian Darrisaw didn't allow a single pressure on Sunday.

The second-year lineman played 72 snaps at left tackle for Minnesota and protected quarterback Kirk Cousins well on each one, according to Pro Football Focus.

The analytics site issued an overall blocking grade of 89.4, which ranked second among all tackles in Week 3 behind Philadelphia's Lane Johnson (91.2). PFF called the Vikings comeback defeat of the Lions "perhaps the best game of [Darrisaw's] young NFL career."

Worth noting is that the impressive outing included some matchups with this spring's No. 2 overall draft pick, Aidan Hutchinson.

Darrisaw spoke with Twin Cities media members via videoconference Monday and reacted to his performance.

"We stepped up to the challenge. We watched the tape," he said. "[Hutchinson is] a great player. He's going to be a great player, for sure, and we know what he's capable of. From me and Brian [O'Neill], from the tackle perspective, we stepped up to the challenge and we dominated.

"I feel like I've been playing very well. Especially from last season and coming into this season, I feel like there's been way much more improvement in my game," Darrisaw said. "And there's still room for improvement. I'm still watching the film today. But definitely I feel like I took that step to become the player that I want to be, and I'm getting there day by day."

Darrisaw also was named the left tackle on PFF's "Team of the Week," while Johnson occupied the right tackle slot.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell was pleased with not only Darrisaw's performance but the entire offensive line, especially in helping Minnesota's run game find a rhythm.

"I thought across the board our offensive line had a pretty solid outing with how we were able to get that [run game] going a little bit, and then when we needed to in those moments where we had to drop back, they gave Kirk enough time where he could go through his progressions and really try to isolate some matchups that we wanted to get after," O'Connell said. "C.D. (Darrisaw) has had a really great start to his season. I think he continues to kind of take the next steps with where he's at in his growth as a player.

"He was really physical in the run game, really solid in pass pro and just played with a real poise and an understanding of the matchup [with Hutchinson] and just was consistent across the board," O'Connell continued. "Performances like that from C.D. are really what we expect at this point with where he's at."

View the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" following a comeback win over the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Over the Vikings first three games, Darrisaw has played 194 offensive snaps and allowed a total of one quarterback hit and five pressures.

His pass-blocking grade thus far is 74.8, while his run-blocking grade is 69.7. Last season, those grades were 63.1 and 77.3, respectively.

"From a pass game perspective, I feel like last year that was one of my weaknesses, and I really took it hard on myself," Darrisaw said. "Breaking down my film and watching my footwork and things like that, just trying to break bad habits that I had in college and the type of stuff that I used to get away with. Now you get exposed on those types of things.

"Just take it a play at a time, really," he added. "Every rep as its own. When I'm out there, I'm trying to be perfect and execute the rep and keep Kirk clean."

Darrisaw is grateful for a strong open to the season, particularly after his rookie campaign got off to a slow start due to recovering from an injury.

View postgame celebration photos from the Vikings 28-24 victory over the Lions on Sept. 25.

Don't expect him to rest on his laurels, though.

"I can't really like look too far ahead," Darrisaw said. "I know I've got to take it a day at a time and just continue to get better."

As Minnesota moves on from Sunday's exciting win and hopes to build on its current 2-1 record, O'Connell articulated what most fans Vikings fans are likely thinking.

"I'm just really excited about the trajectory he's on as a player and just continuing to evolve," O'Connell said. "Becoming one of the premier left tackles in football is where he's headed."