Vikings Now Have 10 Players on IR
Injuries have been bothering the 2023 Vikings all year, and they certainly can’t get rid of the injury curse with the latest wounds of D.J. Wonnum and T.J. Hockenson. In addition to the guys who are out long-term, the Vikes could also be without Byron Murphy, Jordan Addison, Brian O’Neill, and Mekhi Blackmon in Sunday’s crucial game versus the Packers.
Vikings Now Have 10 Players on IR
While some players have already returned from their stints on IR, like Justin Jefferson and Jordan Hicks, there are still ten guys on the list entering Week 17.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins certainly suffered the most significant injury, as his Achilles tendon prematurely ended his season. He played the best football of his career in the last seven quarters before getting hurt.
Since then, the quarterback carousel hasn’t consistently performed well enough to ensure a winning record. After starting Nick Mullens and Joshua Dobbs in the last six contests, rookie Jaren Hall will make his second career start on Sunday.
Cousins is in the final year of his contract, and his devastating injury, combined with his age, makes a potentially extended contract a considerable risk. The Vikings must make the decision if they want to stick with their veteran passer or pivot to a shiny rookie quarterback.
Marcus Davenport was signed to be a difference-maker at the line of scrimmage in Brian Flores’ defense, but he has only played in four games and 118 defensive snaps because of a pair of ankle injuries.
He was a risky signing as injuries have also derailed his previous seasons in New Orleans, but he is a fantastic player whenever he is healthy, showing flashes in his limited playing time in 2023. Similar to Cousins, his contract will expire in March, but he is unlikely to return for a second season after barely making an impact.
His backup, Wonnum, also landed on IR after tearing his quad muscle. He had a breakout year, racking up eight sacks and a career-high 62 tackles, certainly earning a contract in Minnesota or elsewhere.
Cam Akers was signed after Week 3 when the Vikings realized they couldn’t move the ball on the ground. His role slowly increased, and he was close to taking over the top role in the backfield before his Achilles tendon snapped, ending his season.
The running back has now already suffered the injury twice. As his position requires explosiveness, it remains to be seen if he can return in good shape. He will hit the free agency market this year, but his demand should be limited.
Minnesota is also without a pair of defensive ends, as Dean Lowry and James Lynch are out for the season. Lynch tore his ACL in training camp, while Lowry tore his pectoral muscle a few weeks ago. Lowry could be a cap-saving roster cut in the offseason as the Vikings can save roughly $4 million by releasing their 2023 signee, and Lowry is in the final year of his rookie deal.
Earlier in the season, offensive tackle Oli Udoh tore his quad tendon. The veteran backup lineman subbed in for the banged-up Christian Darrisaw. He played well in 2022 when he had to replace right tackle O’Neill, but David Quessenberry took over the role as the top replacement tackle.
Sophomore linebacker William Kwenkeu suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason, and wide receiver Malik Knowles in the offseason.
With all the injuries, the Vikings hope to stay healthy in their final two games. There is still a chance to reach the postseason, although the many absences don’t help to make that happen.
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