Popular Vikings Rookie Hits IR

Vikings Defense Could Soon Receive Help
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Four Minnesota Vikings rookies have now spent time on Injured Reserve, the first three as Ty Chandler (RB), Lewis Cine (S), and Andrew Booth (CB).

Minnesota added cornerback Akayleb Evans to the list on Wednesday, as the Missouri alumnus is battling another concussion. The defender will miss at least four games.

Evans had experienced ample playing time since Week 9 after teammate Cameron Dantzler was placed on — you guessed it — Injured Reserve after a win over the Washington Commanders.

The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 13
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So far during his rookie campaign, Evans is an unabashed fan-favorite, engaging Vikings loyalists seemingly daily on social media and backing up the positive persona with noteworthy production on the playing field.

The Vikings selected Evans in the 4th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft, partnering the Missouri alumnus with 2nd-Rounder Andrew Booth. Now, both men live on Injured Reserve as Booth is out for the of the season due to a torn meniscus, while Evans could be back in time for the postseason.

When Dantzler was injured in Washington, Evans immediately stole the spotlight, accruing an eyebrow-raising 73.8 Pro Football Focus grade, the second-best among Vikings defenders in Landover. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell sent Evans into the game after Dantzler’s exodus, and the rookie notched 2 tackles for loss and a clutch pass breakup on a pivotal 4th Down play.

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Since then, Evans has tabulated a ho-hum 47.5 grade in total in 2022 from PFF, with a 109.4 passer-rating-against, 23 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. It’s a true-blue rookie season for Evans.

In Evans’ stead, well, the aforementioned Dantzler is trending toward a return this weekend, although that is not totally confirmed as of December 7th. Evans’s job is Dantzler’s job to begin with, so the Vikings could have Patrick Peterson and Dantzler on the field to combat Detroit Lions wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie Jameson Williams on Sunday.

Otherwise, Minnesota employs Duke Shelley and Kris Boyd as depth corners.

The Vikings passing defense ranks 32nd in the NFL per passing yards allowed through Week 13.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).