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Brian O’Neill makes strides in expedited preseason test

A bad string of luck sidelined Rashod Hill for days at a time during training camp. First it was an illness that caused him to lose eight pounds and kept him out most of the first week. During Minnesota’s first practice after a preseason win in Denver, Hill stepped on the foot of the guard next to him during 11-on-11 and rolled his ankle.

Every time Hill has gone down, Minnesota Vikings second-round rookie tackle Brian O’Neill has been thrust into the mix with the first-team offensive line. It’s unlikely Hill will play against Jacksonville on Saturday after missing three days of practice, meaning O’Neill should fill the void at right tackle once again.china nfl jersey wholesale

This was hardly the expected projection for O’Neill’s introduction to the NFL when he was drafted four months ago. Given the likelihood then that Mike Remmers would remain inside at right guard, Hill was the defacto starter at right tackle with the expectation that O’Neill would need time to develop his body and the physical tools required to play tackle in the NFL.1

Fast forward to mid-August, the Vikings have expedited that process with O’Neill out of necessity. On top of Hill, injuries have thinned out the offensive line with left guard Nick Easton out for the year, post-neck surgery, Pat Elflein still on the PUP list and Remmers yet to go through a team period after recovering from an ankle injury.

The Vikings were still shuffling around as late as Thursday. Tom Compton left practice because of an apparent arm injury that pushed Danny Isidora over to left guard and moved O’Neill inside to right guard while Aviante Collins took over at right tackle.

What O’Neill has encountered during the past three weeks has forced him to fast track himself, getting past the mental hurdles that come with losing battles against players with far more experience and learning how to grow from those reps.nfl jerseys cheap china free shipping

“Coming in, that’s one of the first five things Pat Elflein ever told me,” O’Neill said. “I was talking to him about the biggest differences. He said, ‘You probably didn’t get beat in college, especially in practice.’ My biggest thing here was, I’m going to get beat, but in camp, that’s the place for it. Take it, learn from it and get better from it. You’re still going to get beat again tomorrow and the next day, but being able to take that, realize that he’s not just beating you, he’s beating other guys too.”

The 6-foot-6 tackle is only in his fourth year playing on the offensive line, having transitioned from blocking tight end at Pitt ahead of the 2015 season to right tackle, where he put on 35 pounds in a six-week span.