Christian Darrisaw mentioned the Packers' David Bakhtiari among the players he's watched on tape during the draft process. He also spoke of the challenges Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears defense will pose.
Know your division foes, Christian, for they play a big role in your transition from the college game.
Also know what is required of you in order to have a long career with the Vikings while solving a nagging problem for the Purple.
"I take pride in keeping the quarterback clean," Darrisaw said between grins during his introductory news conference Friday. "I had the mind-set, the quarterback's not going to get touched my way, and if that happens, then usually a big play will happen.
"Blocking the blind side, you've got to get the play started first. So just having that mind-set that you don't want that quarterback to get touched or anything like that, I feel like I'll be dominant versus whoever I go against."
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins likes hearing that.
"I seen Kirk Cousins welcome me on Twitter," Darrisaw said. "That's pretty dope seeing that."
Of course he did. Cousins doesn't run well and was sacked 39 times last season, sixth most in the league. He threw for over 4,200 yards and 35 touchdowns last season but gets blamed for the Vikings' 7-9 season. His blind side is on the line, and he needs a left tackle to play bodyguard. And the Vikings feel the 6-5, 322-pound Darrisaw has the size and athleticism to make an instant impact at left tackle.
He has other credentials besides the measurables.
Darrisaw has plenty of experience, as he was a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, playing in 35 games. That's a lot of reps in a good conference.
He was as productive as an offensive lineman can be, allowing four sacks as a freshman, three as sophomore and none in 2020, a season in which he was named to the All-ACC first team.
Virginia Tech was more of a running team than a passing team, so there is concern that Darrisaw doesn't have much experience in that aspect of line play. Three years starting in the ACC gave him plenty of opportunities to face talented pass rushers.
These are all strengths that point toward being a plug-and-play left tackle.
General Manager Rick Spielman likes to treat draft picks as currency, but he was able to swing a draft-day deal and move down from the No. 14 pick — where they would have likely taken Darrisaw — to No. 23, where they were fortunate Darrisaw was still around. Spielman came out looking good this time, and he had four third-round picks to play with on Day 2 of the draft Friday.
Dalvin Cook should be blowing up Darrisaw's smartphone, as well. There is plenty of tape of Darrisaw running 30 yards downfield while plowing a road to prosperity for his running backs.
"We were very, very fortunate to get a player of Christian's caliber," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "We love watching him double-team guys into the end zone and doing a great job in pass protection. Hasn't given up any sacks. So we're real excited to get him out here on the field."
The Vikings have picked away at their offensive line issues in recent years, and Darrisaw could be the selection that stabilizes the unit.
In each of the past four drafts, the Vikings have selected an offensive lineman in one of the first two rounds. From left to right, the Vikings now have Darrisaw, center Garrett Bradbury, guard Erza Cleveland and tackle Brian O'Neill to show for those drafts.
Darrisaw will be a difference-maker on the line. His quarterback and running backs will confirm this by the end of the 2021 season. The Vikings offense will benefit, becoming a top-10 unit in yards and scoring.
This will make Zimmer's job a little easier. He has enough on his hands trying to turn the defense around.