All Eyes Turn to Vikings (Large) Injury Report

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Brace yourself. The Minnesota Vikings first injury report on Wednesday will be thick.

The club downed the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, thanks to a heroic performance from newcomer quarterback Josh Dobbs and a steady Brian Flores-led defense. But the win came at a hefty cost.

All Eyes Turn to Vikings (Large) Injury Report

Gone and not coming back in 2023 include running back Cam Akers and quarterback Kirk Cousins, both victims of Achilles ruptures. Alexander Mattison will continue his RB1 workload, with second-year tailback Ty Chandler sliding into the RB2 job. And, for now, of course, Josh Dobbs will remain Minnesota’s QB1 after his interstellar effort at Atlanta.

Eyes Turn to Vikings
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But then the wait-and-sees creep in.

Justin Jefferson, the NFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year, is eligible to return from injured reserve as early as this week after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5. At the time of this article’s publication, though, the club may ease Jefferson back judiciously. It’s not a no-brainer that he’ll be ready for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and a Week 11 timeline at the Denver Broncos may be more realistic.

Christian Darrisaw's Return Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think
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In addition to Jefferson, left tackle Christian Darrisaw is a question mark, injuring his groin before the Falcons contest last weekend and missing the eventual win. Darrisaw has a splotchy injury history, and it wouldn’t be shocking one iota if he missed Sunday’s game.

T.J. Hockenson, too, was battered and bruised at Atlanta, perhaps suggesting he’ll be questionable throughout the week. His theoretical absence might be the most deadly for the offense, as back-to-back-to-back quarterbacks in Cousins, Hall, and Dobbs have learned to rely on the productive tight end during Jefferson’s absence.

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Then, there are other mysteries involving non-superstars. Will wide receiver Jalen Nailor finally hit the field? He has barely played in 2023. DT Dean Lowry missed Week 9 with a groin ailment. Brian Asamoah was inactive in Atlanta because of an ankle problem. Jaren Hall is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Will Sean Mannion then be the QB2?

Wideout K.J. Osborn encountered a scary moment at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and was carted off the field with a concussion. Brandon Powell was banged up heading into last weekend but managed to grab the game-winning touchdown.

Finally, nobody knows when backup offensive guard Chris Reed will formally return from the non-football-injury (NFI) list.

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It’s a purple infirmary, indeed, and Vikings fans should be grateful the murderous part of the schedule is the rearview. Thankfully, Wednesday and Thursday will clarify the litany of injuries, with laser focus on Jefferson, Darrisaw, and Hockenson, in particular.

The Saints are favored by 2.5 points to take down the Vikings on Sunday.

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).

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