Raiders Star Continues to Battle through Injury

​Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

This Sunday in Vegas, there promises to be a showdown of two of the best pass rushers in the game. Danielle Hunter and Maxx Crosby are as good as it gets coming from the edge, and whichever has the most success getting after the opposing QB will give their team a great chance to win.

Raiders Star Continues to Battle through Injury

While Hunter is fully fit and raring to go, the Raiders’ star man continues to battle through injury. This possibly gives the Vikings an early edge, but Crosby will be on the field on Sunday and still be a force to be reckoned with.

Raiders Star
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Crosby’s knee injury first appeared on the injury report back in Week 4, and the Raiders DE has lived on there ever since. Amazingly, Crosby has yet to miss a game due to the injury. Despite being listed as doubtful for the Raiders last game, Crosby suited up and played against the Chiefs. Crosby shared a picture of his swollen knee on social media, which caused a hospital visit due to infection during the week but never stopped him from taking the field.

The bye week wasn’t sufficient for the injury to fully settle, as Crosby appeared on the first day of this week’s injury report as a nonparticipant and only managed a limited practice on Friday. Crosby is set to play, and it looks like a case of managing the injury for the remainder of the season.

The question is whether he can manage a full role. He is generally in the field for every defensive snap for the Raiders but was on a snap count against the Chiefs last time out. One player who has been ruled out is left tackle Kolton Miller, which will aid the Vikings pass-rushing efforts.

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Crosby only played 82% of snaps against Kansas City — comfortably his lowest percentage of the season. He still contributed with a sack, tackle for loss, and a QB hit, which would be a good outing for most players but represents a slow day at the office for Crosby. How much will the knee injury hinder him this week? We don’t know, but we can be fairly certain it’s still an issue, just as we can be certain he will still be a major problem for the Vikings’ offense.

Dominant From the Edge

A fourth-round pick back in 2019, Crosby impressed in his rookie season with 10 sacks. Now in his fifth season, Crosby has become one of the most dominant defensive players in the game. Despite playing with a bothersome knee for most of the campaign, he has amassed 66 tackles, 64 total pressures, 11.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 18 QB hits, 2 pass deflections, and a forced fumble and recovery.

Crosby dominates against the pass and the run and is the complete edge defender. Pro Football Focus puts him as the fourth-best edge defender in the league this season, with an overall grade of 91.8.

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Crosby usually lines up on the left — as Hunter does for the Vikings — which will put him in direct competition with Brian O’Neill. On his best day, O’Neill is one of the top right tackles in the league. However, he had a particularly rough outing against the Bears before the bye.

The Vikings will need O’Neill to be at his best to slow down Crosby and not let him wreck the game. The Raiders aren’t a one-man defense; there are other good players, such as Robert Spillane, Malcolm Koonce, and Nate Hobbs, but Crosby is undoubtedly the star of the show.