Well, the Vikings have overcome their first foe. They did so simply by overcoming the illness that landed several of their players on the injury report during the week.
As you can see, the injury report is looking considerably more encouraging. Instead of 9 players, the Vikings are down to 4. Even more positive is that 3 of these players are questionable. Jonathan Bullard – a backup 3T/5T – will be out.
Perhaps the most encouraging news is that Christian Darrisaw has a chance to play. He’s only in his sophomore season and he’s already an elite left tackle. Getting him back onto the field would be very beneficial to the Vikings offense. Nevertheless, it’d be far, far better to wait an extra week rather than push it too fast by a week. Allowing the young offensive lineman to get fully healthy is critical.
Garrett Bradbury has been playing better in 2022, so much so that he’s getting some hype about his next contract (something in the range of $48 million over 4 years). He is questionable. Austin Schlottmann would likely get the start if Bradbury isn’t available.
Harrison Smith’s inclusion is apparently due to a neck injury. Similar to Darrisaw, it’s best to be cautious. No need to rush a return from injury. Thankfully, Minnesota has some strong depth at the position even though first-round safety Lewis Cine is done for the year. Josh Metellus has played well when he’s gotten the opportunity. The drop off in play wouldn’t be too significant if Metellus plays instead of Smith.
Beating the Lions is important. A victory on Sunday would mean Minnesota secures the division crown for the first time since the 2017 season. It would be a notable accomplishment for Kevin O’Connell, a first-time head coach.
Unfortunately, the Lions are dealing with a fairly extensive injury report:
Perhaps the most notable name is Jeff Okudah. If he’s healthy, he’ll be tasked with matching up on Justin Jefferson with some regularity. In Week 3, Jefferson had a mere 3 catches for 14 yards against Detroit. Keep an eye on Detroit’s defense; there is some discussion of that group being better than many believe.
The game is scheduled to begin at 12 CST on Sunday. Minnesota will travel to Detroit, so the game will be taking place at Ford Field. A win pushes the Vikings to 11-2.