Vikings center Garrett Bradbury, whom Minnesota drafted 18th overall in 2019, said last month that he's confident in his progression entering his second NFL season.
"I feel much more comfortable with the system, much more comfortable with expectations and routines, so I feel great heading into Year 2," Bradbury told Twin Cities media members.
Josh Edwards of CBS Sports also feels confident in the young lineman's outlook for 2020. Edwards recently unveiled his "2020 Breakout Team," highlighting players at every position who are poised for big steps forward in their second season. At center, he selected Bradbury.
Edwards said there were "higher expectations" for Bradbury in 2019 but added the following:
Minnesota really devoted some assets to improving the offensive line this offseason, and that should only aid Bradbury. There is a lot of talent in the N.C. State product's frame, and there are good odds that it will bubble to the surface in Year 2.
Bradbury was the only Viking on Edwards' list, but he included some other NFC North names that Minnesota will face twice in 2020. He highlighted a pair of division-rival tight ends in Green Bay's Jace Sternberger and Detroit's T.J. Hockenson.
Sternberger, a third-round pick, is going to be asked to shoulder a larger share of the targets [in Green Bay].
Hockenson was the first tight end taken, but his first season could only be described as "so-so." There is no question that an injury to veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford stifled his development. The Iowa product's production should more closely resemble his potential in the upcoming season.
Packers guard Elgton Jenkins also could be set for a breakout year, according to Edwards.
Jenkins played really well in spurts, but there was some inconsistency in his play. Jenkins' ability to be physical and dominate opposing players as a rookie was impressive. Green Bay will need the lineman to continue his progression following a parting of ways with veteran offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga.
O'Neill called Vikings 'most promising building block'
Speaking of Vikings offensive linemen, Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport included right tackle Brian O'Neill in a recent article that identified "every NFL team's most promising building block entering 2020."
Davenport provided the following explanation for his approach:
For the sake of this article, we defined a building block as a young, inexpensive player on their rookie deal — the sort of player who won't cripple a salary cap. Also, a "promising" building block has yet to realize his full potential, so we mostly stayed away from players who have been named to a Pro Bowl.
O'Neill impressed as a rookie when thrown into the fire as an 11-game starter; he made an even bigger jump in his second season, during which he started 15 games.
In his first season in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus, right tackle Brian O'Neill played 800 snaps for the Minnesota Vikings without allowing a sack. The following year, O'Neill played 967 snaps and allowed just one sack.
Not a bad start.
The Vikings made the playoffs last year on the back of their ground game — only five teams in the league gained more yards.
Davenport said that Minnesota's offensive line faces questions at left guard, asked whether Bradbury will have that breakout season discussed above and opined that left tackle Riley Reiff "has struggled" recently.
Those uncertainties put that much more pressure on the [6-foot-7], 297-pound O'Neill to be the foundation for the line.
There's going to be a lot of strong-side off-tackle work for Dalvin Cook in 2020.
Kendricks included on NFL.com's All-Analytics Team
Before she turns the page to the 2020 season, NFL.com's Cynthia Frelund put together her "all-star roster consisting of the top player – according to contribution metric – at each position on offense and defense."
Frelund explained the contribution metric:
This is a numerical value I have created that adds (or subtracts) each player's impact on his team's ability to win games, for every snap. The goal is to better understand player value by capturing production in context, such as down and distance, score and time, type of play called and opponent faced.
At linebacker on her all-analytics team, Frelund listed New Orleans' Demario Davis and Minnesota's Eric Kendricks. After his stellar 2019 performance, Kendricks earned First-Team All-Pro honors and participated in his first career Pro Bowl.
Kendricks was PFF's highest-ranked LB in 2019 (among those with a minimum of 300 snaps). Coverage is where Kendricks' efforts produced the most success, with just an 83.9 passer rating allowed when in coverage, which is about 20 points lower than the league average against linebackers, per PFF.