The Vikings Could Get a Couple of Starters Back Sunday

4 Vikings Have Exceeded Expectations in 2022
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The Minnesota Vikings will have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday, at least to some extent. While they cannot change the results of the first three contests, the franchise most likely has to win ten of the remaining 14 games to reach the postseason. That is a tough ask, but the team must start with one victory, and the winless Carolina Panthers are a good opponent to collect that win.

The Vikings Could Get a Couple of Starters Back Sunday

The Vikings Could Get a Couple of Starters Back Sunday
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The lack of ball security is a significant reason why the purple team hasn’t won a game. A team that found creative wins to pull off wins in 2022 has lost that luck and now finds ways to lose those close matchups.

Injuries have also played a role, although every team suffers from those. And certainly, the Vikings aren’t complaining about them. Still, the Vikes could get a nice push because of the nearing comeback of two starters — Marcus Davenport and Garrett Bradbury. Kevin O’Connell provided an update for Sunday’s game on Friday:

“Garrett Bradbury and Marcus Davenport will both go in as questionable. They’ve had good weeks of work, we’ll see how they respond overall and see if we can have both those guys up and rolling this weekend.”

the Vikings Last 5
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Center Bradbury suffered a back injury in Week 1 and left the field after seven snaps, missing Week 2 and Week 3 in the aftermath. The 2019 first-round choice couldn’t live up to the hype coming out of college. He was the highest-drafted center in two decades. However, he played better in O’Connell’s scheme, and the decision-makers opted to re-sign the lineman in free agency after his deal had expired.

He is a staple of the line and has the important task of making the protection calls, something he has always received praise for. Minnesota’s offensive line has been playing at an unusually high level throughout the season, at least some statistics suggest that.

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Dalton Risner is also in the building and could slide into the starting unit after having more than a week to get acclimated. It’s rare that nobody knows how the offensive line will look like when the game kicks off, but this time, there are seven players who could start in the five spots.

While backup center Austin Schlottmann has done a decent job replacing the veteran, defensive coordinator Brian Flores doesn’t have anyone who can replace Davenport. The outside linebacker was added to provide a consistent pass rush on the opposing side from Danielle Hunter, but an ankle injury kept him sidelined. He only logged four snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles before he had to depart from the game.

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A solid pass rusher, the Vikings couldn’t replace him. Backups D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones have struggled to create pressure in addition to their problematic run defense. Despite blitzing a lot, the Vikings haven’t been able to put opposing QBs on their backs all year.

Flores said about the possible reinforcement on Thursday: “We’ll see how it goes, but yeah, he would bring an element that we need of just pass rush and physicality in the run game. When we get him back, nobody will be happier than me.”

Getting one or two of Bradbury and Davenport back would be a huge boost for the Vikings, a team that enters a must-win contest on Sunday against a struggling Carolina Panthers franchise with a rookie quarterback under center.

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