Vikings Next Opponent Also Suffers Huge Injury Blow

Dec 18, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; General view of a Atlanta Falcons helmet during warm ups against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

Right when the Minnesota Vikings turned around their season, and it became clear that they would be 4-4 three weeks after starting 1-4, the dream of a Super Bowl run turned into a nightmare.

Vikings Next Opponent Also Suffers Huge Injury Blow

Quarterback Kirk Cousins tried to escape the defense on a third down and went down. What looked like a normal ankle injury at first turned out to be the Achilles tendon, likely ending his season, pending an MRI to confirm the expected.

Injuries are always tough to swallow for a fan base, as nobody can control them. No mistake led to the issue. Fumbles can be corrected. Players on the depth chart can be changed, but injuries are what they are. The Vikings have been tormented by cruel injuries before. Some guys came back better than ever, while others had their careers stolen. The season moves on, and someone else will start at QB for the Vikes next week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Vikings Next Opponent Also Suffers Huge Injury Blow
Oct 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive end Grady Jarrett (97) celebrates after a victory against the Houston Texans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In that matchup, whoever the quarterback will be doesn’t have to stare into the eyes of Grady Jarrett before the snap as the defensive tackle suffered a torn ACL on Sunday, according to Adam Schefter on X: “Falcons’ Pro-Bowl DT Grady Jarrett suffered a season-ending torn ACL during Sunday’s loss, per sources. The Falcons without Jarrett will play the Vikings without Cousins on Sunday.”

Jarrett came into the league in 2015. Coming out of Clemson, he was overlooked in the pre-draft process, slipping into the fifth round. Interestingly, the Falcons drafted him with a pick they acquired from the Vikings. Rick Spielman gave up pick 137 for picks 146 and 187.

Dec 16, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) reacts after sacking Arizona Cardinals quarterback Mike Glennon (7) (not shown) during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for Jarrett to make a difference in Atlanta’s defense. He contributed in 15 games as a late-round rookie while becoming a full-time starter in his sophomore year, the season the Falcons made a Super Bowl run. In that game, Jarrett sacked Tom Brady three times, tying the all-time Super Bowl record.

In four games against the Vikings, Jarrett logged two of his 34 career sacks. He went to a couple of Pro Bowls in 2019 and 2020, and he was a second-team All-Pro in 2019. The 30-year-old was arguably snubbed from some more accolades.

Sep 24, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) hands the ball off to running back Bijan Robinson (7) during pre-game warmups before their game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons could also be without their starting quarterback. Desmond Ridder was evaluated for a concussion and was replaced by former Vikings backup Taylor Heinicke on Sunday. Ridder has struggled this season, and many wanted to see Heinicke take over. Neither of them is a scary opponent, although the talented skill position players can be dangerous.

Without Jarrett, the task for Minnesota’s offensive line got a little easier. The group has played extremely well throughout the season, even when starters Garrett Bradbury and Ezra Cleveland missed time. Backups Austin Schlottmann and Dalton Risner replaced them, and the line didn’t miss a beat.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands off to running back Alexander Mattison (2) in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Falcons and the Vikings are 4-4. Finding a way to deal with the injuries is the most significant task for both franchises going forward. Justin Jefferson and backup quarterback Nick Mullens can return at the earliest in Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints.


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

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