2 Vikings Injuries Spotlight Major Concerns

There’s no need to address the Vikings game against the Packers. It was atrocious, and everyone knows it. The fans should be more concerned about how prepared this team is for the playoffs. In the spirit of that, 2 Vikings injuries spotlight major concerns.

Unfortunately, they lost two linemen in the first quarter of the Packers game. Austin Schlottman suffered a broken leg at the goalline, and Brian O’Neill sustained a calf injury trying to chase down Darnell Savage on the pick-six.

Losing both of these guys early played a massive part in the catastrophic loss to the Packers. Chris Reed, who came in for Schlottman, was the cause of several false starts. He didn’t know the snap count on at least four plays, and his exchanges, particularly in shotgun with Kirk Cousins, were off the mark.

2 Vikings Injuries Spotlight Major Concerns

Most fans are well aware of how backups can be the downfall of a team. However, few truly understand the importance of the Center position.

2 Vikings Injuries
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Think about this — two people on offense will touch the ball every single play, the center and quarterback. These two players need to be in sync on absolutely everything. If the center doesn’t know the snap count, there will be penalties. If the center and quarterback mess up the snap, the timing of a play could be off or much worse.

Losing Brian O’Neill is also a massive problem. He has been the offensive line’s bedrock and a team leader for years. We should know the severity of his injury soon, but it does not look promising.

Injuries to O’Neill or Bradbury Could Spell Doom

The Vikings Playoff Probability Meter: Week 13
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

With the loss against the Packers, the number 1 seed in the NFC is officially out of the question. They will likely be the three-seed and face the Giants on wild card weekend. Next weekend against the Bears is pretty much meaningless. Therefore, it is time to ensure the starters are healthy and ready to play.

However, they could be without O’Neill and Bradbury in the first round. This could spell doom and lead to a first-round loss against the Giants.

I hate to be a doom and gloom character, but I also want to be realistic. As mentioned, the center is one of the most important people on the field. Therefore, having a third-stringer in the game who doesn’t know the snap counts will undoubtedly be a serious problem.

What Was Kevin O’Connell Doing Early against Packers?
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Losing O’Neill could be an even bigger problem, especially if the team finds a way to get out of the first round. If they manage to beat the Giants, they will likely be heading to San Francisco to play the 49ers. The 49ers defensive line is probably the best in the NFL. The Vikings would be at a massive disadvantage without O’Neill on the field in that game.

The Vikings must prioritize the health of their offensive line over the next couple of weeks. Trying to get Bradbury and O’Neill healthy enough to play on wildcard weekend should be priority number No. 1 for the team. Without either of them, they could be in for a very rough day and might be planning their offseason.


Mitch Massman is a lifelong Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3

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