Only 3 Vikings Played Well vs. GB

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings had a disastrous day on Sunday. Not many things worked throughout the 60 minutes, and the scoreboard showed a 41-17, a result that could have been even worse. Neither offense nor defense and special teams had a good game. Of course, it’s impossible to win a game like that.

Only a handful of players didn’t completely stink, and three players had actually good games — something that didn’t matter in that specific game but could be important in the future.

Duke Shelley

In September, the cornerback started his journey with the Vikings when the team signed him to the practice squad. Before that, the Bears waived him on the final cutdown day, and GM Adofo-Mensah picked him up. Cornerback was a position of need.

Only 3 Vikings Played
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) signals an incompletion after breaking up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK

Cameron Dantzler didn’t make the expected development after escaping Zimmer’s doghouse, and rookies Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans couldn’t stay on the field and spent time on injured reserve. The Vikings needed Shelley to get on the field and perform at a high level, and he has done just that. He had multiple exciting pass breakups, some in high-leverage situations, and shut down some opposing top receivers.

Against the Packers, he was primarily assigned to rookie phenom Christian Watson. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers targeted Watson three times when Shelley was covering him without having a single completion. Shelley was credited with one pass breakup.

Interestingly, Dantzler was healthy enough to play in garbage time, so the team kept Shelley in the starting lineup by choice. He seems to be the starting cornerback for the foreseeable future.

Only 3 Vikings Played Well vs. GB

Jalen Nailor

The rookie wideout came into the season with low expectations, as the receiving corps is crowded with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and K.J. Osborn. In addition, the Vikings traded for Jalen Reagor to be the fourth receiver. However, the team kept Nailor, the sixth-round rookie, on the roster.

Coaching Struggles and Takeaways from Loss at GB
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

He sparingly saw the field in his rookie campaign but was the lone successful player against the Packers defense. Nailor recorded 89 yards on three catches, including a deep touchdown reception. The Vikings also pulled Reagor after two crucial mistakes against the Colts, so Nailor may already be the fourth wideout option.

His role may expand, as he’s the best deep-threat option on the team outside Jefferson.

Oli Udoh

The offensive tackle had to take the field early in the game after Brian O’Neill suffered a calf injury, an injury that is probably season-ending. He has since been placed on IR. Udoh is the starting right tackle from now on.

More Details on Oli Udoh's Arrest
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

He came into the league as an offensive tackle, and the Vikings tried to turn him into a guard in 2021, a terrible decision. At tackle, meanwhile, Udoh is playing fantastic football, considering his backup status. He allowed just one quarterback pressure on 31 pass-blocking snaps against the Packers.

Udoh was not supposed to be the backup tackle in 2022, but Blake Brandel is also on IR with a knee injury. Brandel started three games when Darrisaw was out with a concussion. Now, Udoh can show if he’s capable of starting for a team.

Udoh will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and has a big opportunity to make himself some money in the next few games. There’s always a desperate team in free agency trying to sign offensive linemen over market value.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt