Vikings Have Good News on the Injury Front

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Coming into Week 8, the Vikings would indeed be a playoff team after Stefon Diggs’ Bills defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That comes a couple of weeks after most folks expected the Vikings to blow up the team, with Justin Jefferson having to be placed on IR and a horrendous 1-4 record. But the current Vikings are a confident bunch after winning two straight.

Vikings Have Good News on the Injury Front

Because of the recent success and the opinion that they were better than their record suggested even prior to those performances, the purple team wants to march into Lambeau Field on Monday and beat the rivals. The Packers will be without Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre on the roster for the first time in roughly three decades. Jordan Love is trying to replicate their success but has a long way to go compared to the two legends of the sport.

Have Good News
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Minnesota will still be without Marcus Davenport and Jefferson, but another Viking will be active on gameday, as head coach Kevin O’Connell confirmed on Friday. T.J. Hockenson, who briefly left Monday’s contest against the 49ers, is good to go despite missing Wednesday’s walkthrough practice.

Offensive guard Ezra Cleveland, who exited Week 6 against the Bears and missed Week 7, is questionable. He was replaced by Dalton Risner. The veteran played a wonderful game against San Francisco’s strong defensive front. It remains to be seen who the Vikings name starter once both are healthy.

Asked about Cleveland, O’Connell responded: “He’s gotten some reps in there and we’re just trying to gauge right now where he’s at from a standpoint of being able to be 100% Sunday at noon. Dalton has had a good week as well in prep and regardless of how it works out with the active roster things, we’ll be just determined on what we think is best based on Ezra’s feelings Sunday morning.”

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Brian Asamoah has been ruled out because of an ankle injury. He entered training camp as the starting linebacker, but rookie sensation Ivan Pace took that job from him. Pace didn’t play much in the last few games as defensive coordinator Brian Flores puts a huge emphasis on having extra defensive backs on the field. It simply becomes a numbers game, leaving no room in the lineup for Pace. Asamoah will be missed on special teams. O’Connell said that he hopes to get him back next week.

Wide receiver Jalen Nailor is questionable. The Vikings opened his practice window after his stint on IR but have yet to activate him to the 53-man roster, which they must do before activating him on gameday. His availability could be critical going forward, especially with Jefferson missing another game.

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The status of Nailor and Asamoah is just a side note in the bigger picture, and whether Risner or Cleveland starts is not a big deal either. Much more important is that Hockenson is available and can continue to be one of the top options in the passing game. His skill set as a receiver, but also his willingness to contribute as a blocker, makes him a dangerous weapon. On some snaps, he chips a defender and runs a significant double route.

Against the 49ers, Hockenson logged a game-high 11 catches for 86 yards, his most productive game of the season. He has not scored a touchdown in five straight games, but with the team struggling in the red zone, he might be a focal point in that area.

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.