May 24, 2023
During his breakout 2022 season, the only thing that could stop Vikings star left tackle Christian Darrisaw was a head injury.
The 2021 first-round pick had a dominant sophomore campaign, imposing his will every week en route to finishing as PFF’s third highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL. Unfortunately, he left two consecutive mid-November games to be evaluated for concussions, missing three games while in the league’s protocols after the second incident.
In an effort to protect himself from concussions this season, Darrisaw will be wearing a specialized new helmet. It’s called the VICIS Trench, a helmet designed specifically for offensive and defensive linemen and the contact they experience on every single play. Darrisaw joins players like Joey and Nick Bosa in wearing the helmet, which tops the NFL and NFLPA’s laboratory testing safety results.
You can see what it looks like in the video the Vikings released of Day 1 of OTAs on Monday. It’s got a unique-looking, front-loaded shape.
“I just wanted to try something new,” Darrisaw said. “Last year, I had the SpeedFlex (helmet), got a concussion with it. The scientific studies behind that say this is one of the best helmets there is.”
Darrisaw added that he’s worked on neck strengthening exercises and other ways to prevent concussions, including knowing when to keep his head out of certain blocks.
Across 853 snaps at left tackle last season, Darrisaw earned a 90.3 PFF grade. He hadn’t allowed a sack all season until Week 11 against the Cowboys, when he was knocked out with a concussion after leaving the Bills game one week prior (and then clearing the protocols to play against Dallas).
Entering year three, Darrisaw is one of the key foundational players on the Vikings’ offense.