Vikings Faced with Skeleton Crew on Sunday

Vikings Head Coach
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

When the Minnesota Vikings take the field on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, they’ll be looking to keep the momentum rolling from a massive road win against the Atlanta Falcons. Josh Dobbs has already been welcomed into Vikings lore, but he’ll be faced with a lesser cast of characters this weekend.

Vikings Faced with Skeleton Crew on Sunday

Coming into the game against the Atlanta Falcons and orchestrating an otherworldly win, Josh Dobbs was without the top Vikings offensive threat in Justin Jefferson. That has been the case for weeks in Minnesota. During the game, though, he lost the help of both K.J. Osborn and Cam Akers. With both of them stepping out, T.J. Hockenson and Brandon Powell were also very clearly playing through pain. With the Saints on deck this weekend, who is and remains available will be critical.

Faced with Skeleton
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Even before Dobbs got under center last week, the Vikings were forced to rule out superstar left tackle Christian Darrisaw. David Quessenberry did a great job filling in, but rookie Jaren Hall had immediate concern for his blind side as Darrisaw was a late scratch. He has practiced this week, and the hope would be that he can go, but there are no guarantees. Dobbs goes under center behind a much improved offensive line, but the depth there is being tested.

Dobbs could feel a pinch against New Orleans in what skill players he has at his disposal. Thankfully, Jordan Addison has emerged as a star in his own right. While he has yet to ascend to the levels of Jefferson, it’s clear he has the makings of a legitimate threat in this league. He has brought in big catches, and none may have been more impressive than the reception along the sideline from Dobbs a week ago.

Behind Addison, though, the Vikings are unbelievably thin. Akers being out for the year means it is again on Alexander Mattison to do something. He has failed to accomplish that virtually all year, and what level of production Ty Chandler can provide in an expanded role remains to be seen. The Vikings options at running back are limited, and it was a position of weakness coming into the season.

jordan addison show
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

From a pass-catching standpoint, Addison is the gold standard, but it’s a patchwork group behind him. Osborn doesn’t appear to be trending towards a return this week, and while Powell was playing through cramps, he is already the fourth option on the depth chart. Jalen Nailor, N’Keal Harry, and Trishton Jackson could all see expanded roles, which could spell disaster if one or more of them can’t elevate their game.

Hockenson was paid handsomely at tight end coming into the year, and he’s turned it on after a slow start. Every week, though, he seems to get beaten to a pulp. Leaving the field in obvious pain after the victory, he remains on Minnesota’s injury report this week. He should be expected to go, but the nicks and bumps continue to add up for the star tight end. How long he can continue to sustain the small maladies and remain on the field each week is anyone’s guess.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Kevin O’Connell needs to get the Vikings in a spot where they have somewhat of a commanding grasp on this weekend’s game. Controlling the action against the Saints is a must, and with plenty of fill-in players being relied upon, keeping the situation manageable has to be the focus. Dobbs doesn’t need to replicate the performance from Atlanta, but he will face an uphill battle with what he may have to work with.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.