David Baer: Minnesota Vikings Lose Aviante Collins for The Season
Vikings offensive tackle, Aviante Collins, will miss the remainder of the current NFL season after sustaining an elbow injury in practice in early September. David Baer of Minnesota weighs in on the importance of Collins to the team, and what they may have to do to make up for this unexpected loss amid other injuries in their offensive line this year.
Although Collins, 25, 6’4″, 292lb went undrafted and under the radar in the 2017 NFL Draft, he showed early signs of talent when he was first in his position at the 2017 NFL Combine where he clocked the fastest 40-yard dash for a front lineman at 4.77 seconds (the third fastest time ever by an offensive lineman). He also bench-pressed 225 lbs. 34 times, which was the second-best bench press (tied with another player) among all participants of the Combine. But we’re not here just to talk about stats.
During his first NFL Season, Collins had to fight for his place as a backup offensive tackle on the team. He was slated for swing tackle (a backup player that can play either left or right offensive tackle) duties after the retirement announcement of 36-year-old Joe Berger, and a series of injuries plaguing returning Viking, Mike Remmers. David Baer of Minnesota recalls that the starting right guard missed five games last year due to a concussion and lower back injuries.
Aviante Collins played both tackle spots and left guard during the preseason. He had a notable breakout game in the finals against the Bears where he looked cool and athletic as he saw his first 28 snaps and acted as the team’s sixth offensive lineman. Before this game, Collins hadn’t seen a single snap all season.
For much of his 28 snaps during the match with the Bears, Collins lined up as an offensive tight end, allowing the Vikings to dominate what had been a seemingly impenetrable, slightly overcooked defensive lines. Analysts called this move by Coach Pat Shurmur a ‘Jumbo Package’ or a ‘Power Jumbo Formation’ together with offensive tackles Andre Smith, Brian O’Neil and one of the best blocking tight ends in David Morgan.
Had things turned out differently, says David Baer of Minnesota, it’s obvious that Aviante Collins would have been given more snaps and worked his way up the lines once again. Unfortunately, Collins was only able to play three games this season before signs of injuries began to show in his performance.
With Collins out of commission, rookie Brian O’Neil will likely take on swing tackle duties for the rest of the season, says David Baer of Minnesota. Unlike Collins, O’Neil, who was an offensive tackle starter in college for Pittsburgh, was a second-round draft pick (62nd overall).