These 5 Injured Vikings May Have Played Their Final Games in Minnesota
The Minnesota Vikings have gone through a litany of different injuries throughout the 2023 season.
As a result of these injuries, the Vikings have had to make extensive use of their reserves on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. Taking a look back at some of these injured Vikings, here are a few players who may have played their final games in a purple uniform.
As has been discussed at length over the past 12 months or so, Kirk Cousins came into the 2023 season on the final year of his contract with the Vikings. It was the first time since joining the team that there was any uncertainty regarding his future.
Then, Cousins tore his Achilles in Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers right as Minnesota was beginning to hit their stride offensively and will enter free agency in March with that as the final memory of his season.
Of course, there is a chance that the Vikings bring Cousins back for at least one more year, considering he has $28.5 million in dead money for next season and Justin Jefferson has made it clear that he wants the QB back, but could another team outbid Minnesota with how poor some of the QB play has been this year?
D.J. Wonnum’s season came to an end on Sunday against the Lions after suffering a partially torn quad and being placed on IR. Unless the Vikings somehow find their way into the NFC Championship Game, there is no way Wonnum can be activated again, and even then, his injury is severe enough that there is almost zero chance that he’ll be ready to go.
The pass-rusher entered the final year of his rookie contract this year and will hit free agency in the spring. After a slow start to the year, Wonnum had put together 4.0 sacks in the past five games leading into Week 16, and he could have done enough to earn himself a nice payday on the open market.
Another player who entered the final year of his rookie contract this season was defensive tackle James Lynch. However, his season ended before it could even truly get started. Lynch suffered a torn ACL during training camp and has missed the entire regular season as a result.
Lynch had been a rotational defensive piece for much of his career in Minnesota, and now, he enters free agency hoping to be healthy in time to help a team in 2024.
The Vikings brought Cam Akers in during the season to provide an extra boost to their running back room. He did just that for a couple weeks, totaling 38 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown while also catching 11 passes for 70 yards over six games.
However, Akers’ tenure in Minnesota may have come to an end after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons. The running back has spent four seasons in the NFL and was part of the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl season in 2021. If he comes back healthy in 2024, Akers can provide a boost to many backfields across the league.
Oli Udoh has gone through everything from position changes to season-ending injuries during his tenure with the Vikings. While relieving Christian Darrisaw at the left tackle spot in Week 2 against the Eagles, Udoh suffered a torn quad and has been on IR ever since.
Udoh was a sixth-round pick by the Vikings in 2019, and he started primarily at right guard for the team during the 2021 season. While he struggled at that spot, he has proven to be a very solid backup offensive tackle and should be able to land a job this spring when he hits free agency.
NOTE: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.