Ezra Cleveland and Christian Darrisaw return has the Vikings’ offensive line fully intact

Any concerns of the Minnesota Vikings closing out their season behind a makeshift offensive line were finally put to rest with the news that left guard Ezra Cleveland and left tackle Christian Darrisaw were activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

It’s still a matter of opinion whether it’s the right move for coach Mike Zimmer to play his starters in Sunday’s finale against the Chicago Bears. However, if that’s the direction he’s hell-bent on taking, then it’s a good thing to have both Cleveland and Darrisaw on the field.

Right tackle Brian O’Neill was activated off the COVID list this week as well. So at one point, the thought was quarterback Kirk Cousins could potentially be returning and starting for an offense down three linemen.

Considering the way the Bears hit and harassed him in Week 15, he might have been chopped liver standing out there in the pocket.

The offensive line being intact doesn’t only ensure better protection for Cousins, but it’ll also increase the likelihood of running back Dalvin Cook finding bigger holes to run through.

Given the conditions in Chicago, things got so ugly for the Vikings’ passing attack that Cook actually rushed for more yards than Cousins threw in that game.

That obviously isn’t going to be the case indoors, but the team will still need the big boys up front to keep the running lanes open. Of course, that’s assuming they even run the football on Sunday.

The elephant in the room is Justin Jefferson being 124 yards away from breaking Randy Moss’ single-season franchise receiving yards record.

Cousins will need his blindside protected at all costs.