Minnesota fans will be encouraged to know that the defense will be getting some help. The final Vikings injury report indicates that Ed Donatell will be able to lean on Akayleb Evans and Dalvin Tomlinson when the Jets come to town.
Harrison Smith – the team’s veteran safety – is also good to go. Earlier, he was limited, but he doesn’t have an injury designation.
The bad news is that Christian Darrisaw will miss the upcoming game due to his concussion. Obviously, dealing with something like a concussion means that it’s best to be cautious. Give Darrisaw all the time he needs to ensure he’s 100% healthy. When that occurs, the team can look to bring him back. The sophomore left tackle has been having an excellent season and looks like an offensive cornerstone for the next several years.
Ben Ellefson was recently activated from the injured reserve. However, the depth tight end won’t be available on Sunday. He’ll need a bit more time to get back to full health.
Potentially losing Ross Blacklock is disappointing, especially since he picked up a crucial sack last week against the Patriots. It’s possible he could be part of a rejuvenated pass rush. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like his absence would extend beyond this week since it’s presumably an illness that could be overcome with just a bit of time off.
The best news of the final Vikings injury report rests in the return of the veteran Tomlinson and rookie Evans. Combined, the two players could help the defense reach a higher level.
Tomlinson is a great defensive tackle. He’s capable of gobbling up double teams, allowing his teammates to have easier matchups. He’s a good run defender and surprisingly nimble for a man his size. He can collapse the pocket, making it more difficult for the QB to avoid pressure off the edge. He’ll give this team’s pass rush a needed boost.
Evans will get the start opposite Patrick Peterson. Against Washington, Evans did some really good things. The above video shows a sensational PBU when he’s covering Terry McLaurin one-on-one. Sticking with Scary Terry on a 4th & 1 crossing route is no small feat for any corner, let alone a rookie filling-in for an injured starter. Evans’ compete and length are on full display in this moment.
The New York Jets are yet another tough test for Minnesota. At 7-4, they’re among the better teams in the NFL. Robert Saleh has a top-notch defense, a group that will likely be able to slow down Kirk Cousins & Friends. The Vikings’ defense can help by similarly creating issues for the other side.
The game will take place at 12 CST at U.S. Bank Stadium. A win would push the Vikings to 10-2.