Typically considered the “offensive tackle,” Brian O’Neill was signed by the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. Interestingly, this is their second round draft pick out from Pittsburgh. The deal was already signed before Vikings invited rookies at minicamp for tryouts. The 62nd final pick was O’Neill, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound previous tight end, now transitioned to tackle.
The Vikings still have three of their eight draft picks which are yet to be signed: the first-round cornerback being Mike Hughes, fourth-round defensive end Jalyn Holmes, and fifth-round tight end Tyler Conklin.
The 22-year-old has performed in a total of 38 games in the last three seasons for the Panthers, which led to him towards entering the draft in his final year of eligibility. He was labeled third-team All-ACC in 2016 and first-team all-conference in 2017.
O’Neill former team Pittsburgh has used his tight end ability post him shifting towards tackling, and he managed to score a pair of touchdowns in 2016 — on the edgeways against Georgia Tech and end-around against Virginia Tech. He has also won the Piesman Trophy, which is bestowed upon a lineman who exhibits in unconventional methods of throwing, catching or running with the ball. O’Neill also bought once for 10 yards in 2017 against N.C. State.
This year has been good enough for the now Vikings star, who was one of the top presenters at his level group at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he was on the brink of all offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, timing in at 4.82 seconds. He again positioned himself at the top among offensive linemen post running the 3-cone drill in 7.14 seconds.
The Minnesota Vikings have commended O’ Neill’s power-packed performance in the field, but have also emphasized on him adding to his strength to pace up with the team. Brian O’Neill is most likely headed for a backup role for this season behind beginner tackles of Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.
Prior to this on Thursday, the Vikings announced they have sanctioned half of their 2018 draft class.
Minnesota has signed kicker Daniel Carlson, guard Colby Gossett, defensive end Ade Aruna and linebacker Devante Downs.
A fifth-round selection out of Auburn, Carlson made 21 of 31 field goals attempted in 2017. He was considered perfect on all 57 extra point attempts.
He was 92-of-114 (80.7 percent) on field goal attempts and made all 198 extra points during his entire college span. Carlson had 222 kickoffs, of which 156 were in touchbacks.
Gossett being drafted at the 213th overall pick in the sixth round out of Appalachian State. He started all of his 13 games at right guard in 2017 and provided a lead to Appalachian State on a 9-4 season, following which he received First-Team All-Sun Belt acclamations for the second running season.
Aruna was Minnesota’s 218th overall pick and the last selection of the sixth round. He played four seasons at Tulane, playing in 44 career games. He has 107 total tackles, 70 of which are solo, including only 19 tackles for a loss. He has 12 sacks to his name as well.