When the Minnesota Vikings selected Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it was viewed by many as a draft steal. Many Vikings fans proclaimed him as the solution to their everlasting right guard problem that has plagued the team for the better part of the last decade. Whether it was Alex Boone, Pat Elflein, Josh Kline, or Mike Remmers, the Vikings had experimented with many different players at the guard spot with very little success.
Some had hoped that taking the former five star recruit in the 2021 NFL Draft would finally solidify at least one of the Vikings interior offensive line spots for the foreseeable future. Instead, just one year after he was selected, Davis finds himself on the outside looking in to even making the final 53 man roster in Minnesota, and with two weeks left until final rosters are selected he may be running out of time.
Wyatt Davis was a 5 star recruit out of St. John Bosco High School in California where he was the number one rated guard in the country in 2017, according to his 24/7 Sports recruiting profile. Davis committed to Ohio State and after redshirting his freshman year and getting consistent snaps his second year with the team, came in and started every game his final two seasons with the Buckeyes. He racked up the awards in those two seasons, including first team all-conference and first team All-American honors. After blossoming into one of the country’s best guards, Davis declared for the NFL Draft, where Minnesota selected him in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Rocky Start in Minny
After many declared Davis the next potential great starter in Minnesota at the guard spot after he was drafted, the subsequent battle for his presumptive starting spot took a turn for the worse. Davis slid on some draft boards due to a knee injury that hampered him in his final season with Ohio State, and that injury continued to bother Davis during rookie minicamp and his first training camp. After trying to battle his way back from these injuries, Davis suffered an ankle injury that kept him out from the preseason all the way through the middle of December and continue to plague him during his rehabbing process. Reports also came out that when Davis arrived to Minnesota he was out of football shape and wasn’t completely ready to compete at the NFL level.
The Sophomore Season
After only playing in 6 games during his rookie season, starting none of them and mostly being on special team units, Wyatt Davis was expected to be a huge bounce back candidate for the Vikings this upcoming season. With a new coaching staff, new front office, and the starting spot at right guard still open, this offseason was going to be one for Davis to really show out and take the role. Unfortunately that just hasn’t been the case. During the offseason Minnesota brought in veterans Chris Reed and Jesse Davis and drafted LSU interior offensive lineman Ed Ingram in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. All three of them are now listed above Davis on the depth chart and have been seen working with the first and second team units, while Davis has periodically been rotating between the second and third lines.
During the first preseason game, Ingram seemingly cemented himself as the odds on favorite for the starting right guard role, playing 30 snaps at the right guard spot and looking pretty solid against NFL competition. Davis, on the other hand, played just 13 total snaps at the right guard spot in his appearance against the Raiders and did not look nearly as complete as his counterparts.
With two more weeks until the Vikings have to trim their roster down to 53 men (plus 16 on the practice squad), it is going to be an uphill battle for the former All-American to make this roster given all the competition in front of him. He will have to completely blow away the coaching staff during practice and try to return to his college form during the last few preseason games if he wants to be in purple and gold this season and beyond.
It is too early to write off Wyatt Davis just yet. His career is just getting started and after an injury plagued first year, there is still plenty of time to grow and round himself into an NFL caliber guard. However, that might not be in Minnesota, with a change of scenery looking likely for Davis. We will see what Minnesota does with the offensive line come August 30th, and injuries can still happen but one thing looks certain: Wyatt Davis will have to play some of the best football of his life these next few weeks to stay with the Vikings for the 2022-2023 NFL regular season.