2014 Minnesota Vikings: Timeline of Starters

The Minnesota Vikings, despite their respectable improvement in performance over last year, has had a constantly rotating corps of new starters come in and play for them despite what was once the best injury-avoidance and conditioning unit in the NFL. But instead of simply listing the list of starters, it is perhaps more striking to combine them in one easy-to-explain but annoying-t0-have-to-digest image. Or several, rather. The offense, followed by the defense:

Offensive Injury Chart 4

Defensive Injury Chart

The defense has had to worry about a lot less than the offense in terms of having to replace players. In some sense, this impresses upon us the difficulty that NFL teams go through every year, but in other ways it feels like a representation of the luck the Vikings have had overall—it certainly seems like a more extensive list than a similar list for another randomly chosen team.

On the other hand, it isn’t unique. The Browns have been rotating through running backs as they figure out their center and quarterback situation, while the New England offensive line was constantly rotating while they were waiting Rob Gronkowski’s return. The Vikings seem to be struck with unusually bad luck, head coach Mike Zimmer deserves particular leeway (which he has received), but we shouldn’t assume a team stays 100% healthy or available throughout the year.

So, that’s one picture of the season.