Vikings Could Be without 6 Opening Day Starters This Weekend

Vikings Free Agent News
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

More will be gleaned from the Minnesota Vikings introductory Week 11 injury report on Wednesday, but for now, the purple team could embark on a date with the Denver Broncos sans six opening-day starters.

Vikings Could Be without 6 Opening Day Starters This Weekend

It just might not feel like it because Kevin O’Connell’s squad has won five consecutive games, and injuries haven’t hampered the in-season turnaround. Not one bit, actually.

In fact, the club, for some reason, seemed to get better without its top players, if that can be believed.

Could Be without 6
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At the top of the injury card is Kirk Cousins. The 35-year-old ruptured his Achilles tendon in Week 8 and won’t return in 2023. Cousins is personally eyeing a return for the Vikings or another team’s OTAs in May and doesn’t quite have the Aaron Rodgers voodoo that suggests an Achilles can heal in three months.

Then, and more relevant to the here and now, Justin Jefferson is questionable for the Broncos matchup and is a true coin flip five days out. Most knew Jefferson wouldn’t play against the New Orleans Saints last weekend, and those theorists were correct. Regardless, Minnesota won its fifth straight matchup without Jefferson, an odd paradox because the team started winning the moment he hit injured reserve.

Starters in 2023
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

RB1 Alexander Mattison was concussed on Sunday, and when Vikings players encountered the same injury at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9 — Jaren Hall and K.J. Osborn — neither man played the following game. If Mattison cannot play — he probably won’t — second-year tailback Ty Chandler will be on tap for an RB1 workload for the first time in his career.

Speaking of K.J. Osborn, it is unclear if he’ll exit the NFL’s concussion protocol, and by Wednesday afternoon, the veteran pass-catcher will likely have a questionable status for Week 11.

Contribution from Free
Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Marcus Davenport addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Davenport joined the Vikings in March of 2023 after four seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

On defense, the group is a wee bit healthier. Marcus Davenport was injured with a high ankle sprain against the Chicago Bears, hitting IR for at least four games. He’s eligible to come off the list as early as now, but Davenport’s return doesn’t sound imminent at all. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted Monday, “LB Marcus Davenport ended up having the ‘tightrope’ procedure on his ankle sprain and is not ready to return from IR, per Kevin O’Connell. Still hope that he could get back by the end of the season,” O’Connell said.

Finally, the most recent — and bad — news: Linebacker Jordan Hicks is a fresh addition to injured reserve, beset by compartment syndrome and scheduled to miss the next four games. Hicks will be eligible to return on Christmas Eve when the Vikings host the Detroit Lions for an ultra-important NFC North showdown. In the wake of the Hicks injury news, Minnesota signed Anthony Barr, a homecoming addition for the 31-year-old.

And all that is on top of the “regular” weekly injuries that will become clearer on Wednesday.

The Vikings are 2.5-point underdogs at Denver for Sunday Night Football.


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.

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