Vikings Get at Least 1 Star Back on Sunday

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The 5-4 Minnesota Vikings host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, trying to hold on to the final wild card spot they would win if the season ended today. Kirk Cousins and Cam Akers are out for the season with torn Achilles tendons, and the injury report is filled with players who suffered minor injuries, but one guy was absent from the report.

Vikings Get at Least 1 Star Back on Sunday

Vikings Get At Least 1 Star Back on Sunday
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Star left tackle Christian Darrisaw surprisingly missed last week’s contest against the Atlanta Falcons with a groin injury. It was a strange timeline. The third-year player logged three straight full practices but was noted on Friday’s injury report with a groin injury after another full practice. He didn’t get a game designation, so the decision-makers didn’t think his availability was in question. The Vikings downgraded his status to questionable on Saturday, and he eventually missed the starting debut of Jaren Hall and Joshua Dobbs’ heroics.

Darrisaw had two limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday this week leading up to the battle with the Saints. Head coach Kevin O’Connell gave a couple of vague updates earlier in the week and didn’t sound particularly hopeful about his big tackle.

On Friday, however, Darrisaw practiced fully and, just like last week, doesn’t have an injury designation. It’s rare that a player without one actually misses a game, so Darrisaw should be good to go.

for Vikings at Bears
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The former Virginia Tech star is a big part of Minnesota’s offense. Of course, a blindside blocker is always important in the passing game, especially one playing at an All-Pro level. He usually keeps his side clean, allowing the passer to comfortably sit in the pocket and read the field. In addition to that, Darrisaw is a monster in the running game, and surely, the Vikings need all the help they can get to improve the disastrous rushing attack, especially with a backup under center.

While Darrisaw will return, a handful of other players are questionable. including superstar Justin Jefferson. The Vikings have been cautious with him, and Jefferson himself wants to make sure to get back to 100% before returning to prevent any setbacks. Neither the wideout nor his head coach have talked optimistically all week about a quick return. For that reason, it is surprising to see him earning a questionable tag.

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After missing the mandatory four games on IR, the Vikings opened his 21-day practice window on Wednesday. They now have 21 days to activate him. Theoretically, the team’s top target could play on Sunday, although that should still be considered a longshot.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson suffered a rib injury in the victory over the Falcons but stayed in the game for the most part, showing his toughness. He also caught some incredibly important passes, including on the game’s final drive.

He practiced three times on a limited basis this week and also drew a questionable designation for the game. Compared to Jefferson, his comments and those of the coaching staff were more encouraging for Sunday.

Faced with Skeleton
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Also questionable is linebacker Brian Asamoah, who has been a rotational player but mainly shined on special teams. Wide receiver K.J. Osborn suffered a concussion last week, and rarely does a player return within one week. However, despite his questionable status, Osborn logged a full practice on Friday and could be cleared in time for the game. Of course, his availability would be important in case of Jefferson’s absence.

Offensive guard Chris Reed is also questionable but could make his season debut after overcoming his offseason foot injury. Speedy wide receiver Jalen Nailor hasn’t played since Week 2. Like Darrisaw, he didn’t receive an injury designation, making his return possible.

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