Kevin O’Connell Provides an Update on the Vikings Injury Front

Don't Take the Bait on Anything Implying O'Connell Is "Anti-Cousins"
Kevin O’Connell

Heading into training camp, the Minnesota Vikings were one of the healthiest teams in the NFL, with only players battling for roster spots dealing with some injuries. Now a week or so into camp, Minnesota has seen multiple starters miss portions of practice with injury.

First and foremost, Irv Smith Jr. is once again dealing with an injury that will keep him out for a lengthy period of time. Smith injured his thumb on a play that O’Connell called a “simple block”, and it ultimately required surgery. O’Connell said the surgery went “phenomenal” though, and he is on track to return for the regular season. The tight end will miss the remainder of training camp and preseason.

This is an injury that causes some level of concern simply because while the Vikings have plenty of bodies at the tight end spot, none of their depth is truly proven at the NFL level. Johnny Mundt has 10 career NFL receptions, and Ben Ellefson is the only other player at the position with an NFL reception. He has exactly one.

That said, if Smith was ever going to miss a month, this is the time for it to happen. It would have been nice to see him get some reps in preseason and build momentum into the regular season, but the Vikings are playing it cautious, so he is ready to go when the games actually matter.

On the running back front, Kene Nwangwu is still considered a “day-to-day” with his “soft tissue leg injury”. However, both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are back for today’s full-padded practice after suffering hand injuries of their own.

While it may have been nice to see some reps out of guys like Ty Chandler and Bryant Koback in padded practice, it is good to know that neither of Cook’s or Mattison’s injuries are considered serious at this point.

As more news comes out of training camp, you can be sure that Vikings Territory will have you covered.