5 Bits of Vikings News Occurred on Saturday

rise of josh
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers Monday night, a 2-4 club that has disappointed through six weeks versus the NFL’s top team.

San Francisco is favored to win by a touchdown.

5 Bits of Vikings News Occurred on Saturday

And to set the table, five tidbits of Vikings news arose on Saturday. These are those ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

5. Josh Metellus Fined

5 Bits of Vikings News
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Probably because he “fell on the quarterback,” Vikings safety Josh Metellus’ bank account shrunk a bit, fined $11,167 for a hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields in Week 6.

Here’s the play:

This is akin to a $500 fine for the average American, per Metellus’ salary, so it’s noteworthy. Metellus is not a dirty player — at all. This one is evidently just the cost of doing business.

4. Akayleb Evans Questionable

CB2 Mystery
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Like 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, Evans is battling an oblique injury, tossing his status for Monday Night Football up in the air. Head coach Kevin O’Connell sounded optimistic this week that Evans would be a full-go.

Yet, he’s ultimately questionable on the final injury report. If he cannot go, the Vikings will start Andrew Booth or Mekhi Blackmon in his spot. Blackmon has performed well for a rookie in 2023, and Booth started receiving playtime last weekend at Soldier Field.

Thankfully for the Vikings sake, in light of Evans’ injury, the 49ers WR corps will be shorthanded. More on that later.

3. No Ezra Cleveland on MNF

7 Wild and Crazy
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Cleveland injured his foot at Chicago, thrusting Dalton Risner into action for the first time as a Viking. Bittersweet, indeed.

Through six games of 2023, Cleveland ranks as the NFL’s ninth-best offensive guard, according to Pro Football Focus, so Minnesota will miss this man, no matter how hot RisnerMania may be.

Cleveland has nestled into the Vikings offensive line as a staple, something fans have craved from the guard spot(s) for a decade.

He’ll be missed on MNF but should return soon.

2. The Dalton Risner Era Begins

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Risner joined the Vikings about a month ago via free agency after fans had called for the acquisition for weeks. Then, folks wanted the former Denver Bronco transplanted into the starting lineup, as young lineman Ed Ingram had sometimes struggled.

But that didn’t happen, and with Cleveland now on the shelf for at least a week, Risner gets his chance in Minnesota at left guard.

His promotion is vital because the Vikings may need a left guard next season if Cleveland departs via free agency. Monday’s game and beyond this season is essentially Risner’s audition for 2024 as well.

1. The 49ers Injury Report

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

49ers wideout Deebo Samuel won’t play Monday night and, in fact, is heading to injured reserve. Check your fantasy lineups. Then, otherworldly left tackle Trent Williams — Christian Darrisaw’s idol — is doubtful.

And after that, folks will monitor the pregame lead-up to determine if Christian McCaffrey will play. He’s suffering from an oblique injury and is the straw that stirs the drink in San Francisco’s offense. McCaffrey is officially questionable for MNF.

The moral of the story? The shorthanded Vikings will take on the shorthanded 49ers.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.