Another Key Viking Could Miss the Start of the Season

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In addition to monitoring T.J. Hockenson’s injury recovery, new outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel can evidently join the party.

Another Key Viking Could Miss the Start of the Season

The Minnesota Vikings signed Van Ginkel in March, on deck as a replacement for Marcus Davenport, who bolted in free agency for the Detroit Lions, and D.J. Wonnum, now a Carolina Panther. But because of an injury he suffered late in the 2023 regular season, there’s no guarantee for Van Ginkel to play out of the gate in September.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel suffered a broken nose Sunday against the Jets but by Monday, he’d been patched up.© HAL HABIB / The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

That’s the word from The Athletic this week, with training camp 19 days away. Alec Lewis wrote about the injury statuses of Hockenson and Van Ginkel, “Both Hockenson and Van Ginkel jogged on ancillary practice fields during mandatory minicamp at the TCO Performance Center. Hockenson is rehabbing a torn ACL and MCL, suffered in Week 16, while Van Ginkel is returning from a Lisfranc foot injury, which occurred in January.”

The Vikings scooped Van Ginkel from the NFL’s marketplace 3.5 months ago for $20 million over the next two years.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and linebacker David Long Jr., rear, celebrate a sack against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Dec. 24, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Lewis added, “O’Connell has been open about both players. The Vikings don’t want to rush either player back, and they’d prefer a longer span of health over a quicker return. The early portions of training camp should provide indications as to whether either player could end up on the PUP list.”

That sounds like a pathway to the PUP list, or at least groundwork. Hockenson is close to a lock to miss the first portion of the regular season, but the Van Ginkel nugget is somewhat new.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and defensive tackle Zach Sieler (92) celebrate a sack against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 8, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Van Ginkel experienced ample playing time in 2023 when nearly every EDGE rusher for the Dolphins was lost to injury. He had 6 sacks and 20 pressures, according to Stathead, along with a blistering 91.1 Pro Football Focus grade. The Iowan was a Flores draft pick for the Dolphins in 2019. Those ties between players and coaches always seem to reemerge.

Van Ginkel played 66% of defensive snaps for Miami in 2023, a worthwhile amount and tip of the cap that he’ll start in September for Minnesota. He banked 69 tackles, 6 sacks, 19 QB hits, 8 tackles for a loss, 1 interception, and 8 passes defended in 2023 and played 138 special teams snaps.

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Back in the spring, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah called Van Ginkel a “Mr. Do Everything.” The young executive talked to KFAN’s Paul Allen three months ago and was almost giddy about Van Ginkel’s addition to the depth chart. Adofo-Mensah assigned the nickname and elaborated, “I don’t think there’s a single thing on defense he can’t do.”

He continued his Van Ginkel scouting report, “As a general manager, it gives you comfort when you can kind of pencil somebody into different spots. He can play edge. He can drop. I would say, if not the best dropper in the NFL, with his instincts, his ability to get out in space. But then he’s someone who has shown that he has a complement of moves that can stress tackles and is an incredibly versatile player, smart, just everything we want as a Viking. The hair doesn’t hurt, either.”

The good news? If Van Ginkel is unavailable immediately in September, Minnesota would almost certainly pivot to rookie Dallas Turner, who has already shown signs indicating he can be a Week 1 starter. Suddenly, even after Danielle Hunter’s departure to the Houston Texans in March, the Vikings have noteworthy pass-rushing depth.

Van Ginkel turned 29 on Monday.

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