Vikings Survive Injury Scare on Thursday

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Injuries are part of football and training camp but they are always an unfortunate break for teams and players. Trishton Jackson was carted off with what looked like a serious knee injury a couple of weeks ago but has already returned to practice. Defensive tackle James Lynch, meanwhile, wasn’t as lucky. He will miss the 2023 season on IR with a torn ACL.

Vikings Survive Injury Scare on Thursday

survive injury
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Two Vikings left the practice field with potentially serious injuries on Thursday and both of them are considered starters: Akayleb Evans and Mekhi Blackmon. The two cornerbacks have been running away with the starting jobs next to Byron Murphy.

Evans went to grab an interception in a situational drill. Malik Willis fired the ball in the endzone, Evans jumped, and was unfortunately hit by fellow Viking Josh Metellus. The cornerback got up after a few moments and wanted to continue but Kevin O’Connell pulled him off the field.

Concussions are taken seriously in the NFL and Evans has a lengthy history of concussions, sustaining three separate ones last season. It ultimately prematurely ended his rookie campaign and he tried to get rid of the issue by improving his tackling form and wearing a different helmet. Of course, non of that matters in a collision like that.

The good news, however, Evans never left the field with a trainer and watched from the sidelines. He also signed autographs. One would think there was more urgency if he was indeed concussed. In addition to that, Evans joked about it on the X app:

While there has not been an official injury update from the Vikings, all signs point toward Evans avoiding a concussion.

But the sophomore wasn’t the only player with an injury scare. Rookie Blackmon departed from the practice field with what appeared to be a serious upper-body (potentially shoulder-) injury.

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Tom Pelissero tweeted a few hours later: “Vikings rookie CB Mekhi Blackmon appears to have dodged a major injury in today’s joint practice with the Titans, per source. Evaluations ongoing, but there’s optimism Blackmon — a third-round pick who’s been working with the starting defense — will be able to return soon.”

Pelissero didn’t report a specific diagnosis or timeline but it is still a very optimistic message. The cornerback himself also tweeted that evening: “THANK YOU LORD.”

Cornerback has been a problematic position in Minnesota for quite a while now. Behind the top three guys, the Vikings employ 2022 second-rounder Andrew Booth who has been struggling to stay healthy to improve his craft, and veteran Joejuan Williams. Neither of the two feels like someone fans would want to see in the starting lineup.

CB2 Mystery
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Evans has shown some flashes last year, especially his outstanding pass breakup against the Washington Commanders turned heads because he went up against Terry McLaurin. Blackmon had a phenomenal 2022 season at USC. Size concerns had him drop to the end of the third round.

Rookie mistakes are to be expected, perhaps from both Evans and Blackmon, but their level of play will be a deciding factor as to how well the 2023 defense can perform.

It is currently unknown if the duo will play in the preseason contest against the Tennessee Titans. They both played in the preseason opener.

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