2 Prominent Vikings Not on Good Track for Saturday

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will have Justin Jefferson on the field at Paycor Stadium this Saturday, but his speedy return to health hasn’t translated to the rest of the injury report.

Minnesota faces an uphill battle on the road — evidently — as sportsbooks have attached a three-point spread in favor of the Cincinnati Bengals.

2 Prominent Vikings Not on Good Track for Saturday

Cincinnati has about 23% odds of reaching the playoffs, per ESPN, and Vegas believes Zac Taylor’s group has the oomph to knock off Minnesota and hit an 8-6 record.

Regarding the injury report, these two Vikings players haven’t practiced this week, making Saturday a longshot.

Alexander Mattison (RB)

Mattison was cooking in Las Vegas.

The team’s RB1 had ripped off 66 rushing yards on 10 carries, by far his most productive outing of 2023. Then, though, Mattison hurt his ankle, sidelining him the rest of the way against the Raiders in a game where Minnesota needed all the help it could get on offense.

Not on Good Track
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Ty Chandler took the baton and played decently, and if Mattison is indeed a no-go in Week 15, Chandler will make his first career start. He offers speed and burst compared to Mattison but lacks Mattison’s experience. He does, however, average 4.1 yards per carry, an uptick from Mattison’s 3.9. And for a running back, 0.2 yards makes a big difference.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Mattison hasn’t practiced this week, and Thursday’s injury report will likely tell the tale of his availability for Saturday. Another DNP will probably rule him out; a limited would keep hope alive.

On the whole, it’s trending toward Chandler as RB1 at Paycor Stadium.

Brian O’Neill (RT)

Also beset by an ankle injury, O’Neill has not practiced this week, with Bengals-Raiders two days away.

He was hurt in Las Vegas, like Mattison, and the DNP doesn’t bode well for Week 15. O’Neill is one of the NFL’s best and most consistent right tackles, although he had a rough time with Raiders’ EDGE rusher Maxx Crosby last weekend. Then again, everyone has woes with Crosby.

A Vikings Stalwart
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

If O’Neill cannot play at Cincinnati, David Quessenbery will take over the RT gig. He performed well in reservist duty for Christian Darrisaw in November and again on Sunday in Las Vegas.

O’Neill partially tore his Achilles late last season at Lambeau Field but recovered rapidly throughout the offseason and was ready by Week 1. Here’s to hoping his recovery this season is just as expedient.

Significant Week 18
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Focus considers O’Neill the league’s 20th-best offensive tackle after 14 weeks, with a 74.8 grade.


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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