Vikings guard Wyatt Davis on his tough rookie year: ‘I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again’

After being taken in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft out of Ohio State, Davis talked about wanting to start as a rookie. Instead, he got into just six games and played a mere 28 snaps on special teams.

Regular Season Week 03
Minnesota Vikings guard Wyatt Davis is shown before a Sept. 26, 2021, game against the Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Andy Kenutis / Minnesota Vikings photo

EAGAN, Minnesota — Minnesota Vikings guard Wyatt Davis didn’t play a single snap from scrimmage last season as a rookie. He wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2022.

After being taken in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft out of Ohio State, Davis talked about wanting to start as a rookie. Instead, he got into just six games and played a mere 28 snaps on special teams.

Since the end of the season, the native of the Los Angeles area has been working out regularly near his home and has been sticking to a strict diet. And later his month he will head to the Dallas area for more than a month to work with offensive line guru Duke Manyweather.

“Obviously, I wanted to help contribute and I didn’t have the opportunity to do so, which is why I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again, absolutely,” Davis told the Pioneer Press about rebounding from his tough rookie season.

Davis played right guard in college, and that spot was open for the Vikings entering last season. But Davis was never in the mix to start. Oli Udoh initially won the job over Dakota Dozier, and was ranked No. 64 out of 82 NFL guards for the season by Pro Football Focus. Mason Cole took over at right guard for three games in December and was much better than Udoh, but he missed the final three games of the season with an elbow injury.


Minnesota Vikings guard Wyatt Davis poses for a photo at training camp on Aug. 5, 2021 at TCOPC in Eagan, Minnesota.
Janaye Johnson / Minnesota Vikings photo

“I know that obviously for Wyatt, it was pretty disappointing to kind of have that year, but I think he’s really looking forward to having a clean slate and getting a true opportunity to play,” said Davis’ father, Duane Davis, a former tight end at Missouri and former actor, and the son of late Green Bay Packers hall of fame defensive end Willie Davis.

Perhaps a better opportunity for Davis will come under a new coaching staff. Mike Zimmer was fired as head coach after the season and replaced by Kevin O’Connell. And offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak and offensive line coach Phil Rauscher are gone. O’Connell has yet to decide on a new offensive coordinator and the new line coach is Chris Kuper.

Appearing last weekend on “All Things Covered,” a podcast hosted by Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson and former NFL cornerback Bryant McFadden, starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw talked about O’Connell replacing Zimmer, saying “sometimes you need change.” When asked if he agreed with that, Davis said, “Absolutely.”

"I’m excited to get to know (O’Connell),” Davis said. “With all the changes that have been made, obviously it was done for a reason to help propel us and take that next step this upcoming season. So I’m looking forward to being able to get to meet him and get to work with him.”

Since they have a new head coach, the Vikings can start their offseason workout program April 4, two weeks sooner than teams with holdover coaches. Until he reports to the TCO Performance Center in Eagan for those workouts, Davis is trying to get in the best shape he can.

Davis, a Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., resident, is working out with a trainer at The Yard Fitness Center in Hermosa Beach, where a number of NFL players train, and doing boxing drills at the American Gym in Costa Mesa. Then he’ll go work with Manyweather, who runs an acclaimed offensive linemen training program in Frisco, Texas.

“I’m just doing everything I can to put me in a position to help my team win,” Davis said. “I’m just looking to work once we get back into doing (Vikings) stuff. … Once that opportunity comes, I’m going to take it and never look back. So I’m just trying to do everything in my power right now to put me in a spot to do so.”

The 6-foot-4 Davis said he’s on “a great meal plan” to maintain his weight. He reported to the Vikings last year at 320 pounds, and team officials wanted him to drop about seven pounds. He did that, and now wants to make sure he reports in the spring at an ideal weight.

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