Another Vikings Star Could Unexpectedly Miss Sunday’s Game

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The 4-4 Vikings try to keep a three-game winning streak going when they travel to Atlanta to face Arthur Smith’s Falcons with Taylor Heinicke under center instead of sophomore Desmond Ridder. Kevin O’Connell will be without Kirk Cousins for the first time as head coach. Jaren Hall was announced as the starter earlier in the week.

Another Vikings Star Could Unexpectedly Miss Sunday’s Game

Another Vikings Star Could Unexpectedly Miss Sunday's Game
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Hall is in a better position than most rookie passers as he has weapons and a decent offensive line around him but both groups might be without a top player. In addition to Justin Jefferson who will be eligible to return from IR after the game, the Vikes downgraded left tackle Christian Darrisaw to questionable on Saturday, an unusual and surprising move.

Darrisaw logged full practices all week but a groin injury was the reason why he was noted on the final injury report on Friday. However, he had another full practice and didn’t receive a game designation, so the decision-makers clearly expected him to play.

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ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted: “Biggest news here is that LT Christian Darrisaw has a groin injury and is now questionable for tomorrow’s game in Atlanta. If he can’t play, I would imagine David Quessenberry would be next up. He got snaps at LT in Week 2 when Darrisaw and Oli Udoh were both injured.”

Missing Darrisaw would be a huge blow to the offense, an offense that is already missing its starting quarterback and arguably the best wideout in the NFL. Darrisaw has been playing at an All-Pro level all year. He is among PFF’s top-graded offensive linemen.

Tennessee Titans offensive tackle David Quessenberry (72) takes the field to face the Colts at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. © Andrew Nelles / via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

David Quessenberry was signed after the final cutdown day to the 53-man roster. The offensive tackle is 33 years old and has played 19 offensive snaps for the purple team. He has played in 58 games throughout his career for Houston, Tennessee, Buffalo, and Minnesota, starting 26 contests.

Protecting the rookie passer so he can comfortably sit in the pocket will be crucial for the Vikings, just like opening holes in the running game for Cam Akers and Alexander Mattison. The rushing attack will be an even more important part of the offense without Cousins under center. Missing Darrisaw at left tackle would be a significant blow to the team.

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Offensive play-designer and play-caller O’Connell will step into the spotlight. He has to make sure the offense is still working regardless of the available personnel. He has been phenomenal in recent weeks, creating an explosive and consistent offense. Without any doubt, his job would be a lot easier if the most talented players were available but he has been preaching the importance of responding to adversity. Injuries can be explanations but not excuses.

Besides the news surrounding Darrisaw, the Vikings announced that they have activated Jalen Nailor to the 53-man roster after his stint on IR, while defensive tackle T.J. Smith and linebacker Nick Vigil were called up from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.

The Vikings will likely make the decision on Darrisaw’s availability during pre-game warmups.

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