Vikings Receive Encouraging News — Duo Returns to Practice

Week Is an Early
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) does a Lambeau Leap with Vikings fans Craig Lindsay, Nick Johnson and Chris Gangl against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Vikings won the game, 24-10. © Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK.

After losing four of the last five contests, the Vikings lost control of their own fate and need to hope for a Seahawks or Rams loss in the final two weeks of the regular season while also having to win twice. Kevin O’Connell’s group has lost two more players to an already-filled injury reserve and needs players with minor injuries to return as soon as possible.

Vikings Receive Encouraging News — Duo Returns to Practice

Cornerback Byron Murphy was absent from the first two practice sessions this week with a knee injury that forced him to miss last week’s game. Depth wideout Jalen Nailor (concussion), defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy (ankle), and safety Theo Jackson (toe) also haven’t logged any practice time.

Vikings Receive Encouraging News--Duo Returns to Practice
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive lineman Harrison Phillipps was upgraded from limited on Wednesday with a back injury to a full participant on Thursday. He should be good to go versus Green Bay, just like Ivan Pace and Brian O’Neill, who were listed on the injury report but didn’t miss any practice time.

More good news is the return of the top two rookie selections, Jordan Addison and Mekhi Blackmon. They exited the matchup against Detroit and missed Wednesday’s practice but were upgraded to limited participants, increasing the hope that they are available to face the green rivals on Sunday Night Football.

Dodged Bullet
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Addison has become one of the most important puzzle pieces in the lineup, and with tight end T.J. Hockenson suffering a season-ending knee injury, he will be asked to bear even more of the load in the passing attack that will be led by rookie quarterback Jaren Hall for the second time this season.

The rookie wideout has been a sensational weapon in O’Connell’s offense, especially when Justin Jefferson was forced to miss time with a hamstring injury. Addison has caught 63 passes for 826 yards and nine touchdowns. The TD total ranks him at the top of all rookies and fourth in the NFL.

Having enough reliable weapons is the key to winning with a backup quarterback, so the Vikings need Addison on the field to support his fellow rookie.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Also critical is the availability of Blackmon if Murphy can’t go. A shoulder injury was the reason why he couldn’t finish his third start of the season. He has played 398 defensive snaps in his debut campaign, primarily as a backup for Murphy and Akayleb Evans whenever they needed a break or in lineups with three cornerbacks.

Through 14 games, Blackmon has been a trustworthy cornerback without any defensive breakdowns. He will be asked to cover Green Bay’s young wideouts if he can play.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Backups Troy Dye and Sheldon Day were listed as limited participants. The injury report implies that the Vikings are on their last legs. Having all limited players back in the lineup would be a significant relief. More of their statuses should be known on Friday after the final practice day of the week.

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