Ongoing Michael Pierce Injury is Cause for Concern

The game is still a few days away, so a lot can change. That being said, there is at least some reason for concern. In total, Minnesota has six players on their injury report, which is a significant reduction from the total ahead of the Week 6 game. The main reason for concern rests in the ongoing Michael Pierce injury. Our starting NT didn’t participate in practice.

Pierce was our main free agent addition before the beginning of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, he had to opt-out last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Upon returning in 2021, Pierce made an immediate impact. He showed great speed and agility in the Bengals game, abilities that allowed him to sack Joe Burrow twice:

As you can see in the above video, Pierce’s second sack came on a 3rd & 3 in overtime. In other words, he stepped up at a critical moment, making a play that gave us a chance to win the game. Losing him is a difficult hurdle for our team to overcome.

Of course, the Michael Pierce injury isn’t the only reason for concern. Dede Westbrook also received a DNP designation. If he can’t go, Minnesota will likely turn to K.J. Osborn or Kene Nwangwu as the punt returner. It may have been Ameer Abdullah, but he was cut to make room for Nwangwu. Anthony Barr (who needs to elevate) and Ben Ellefson were limited. Adam Thielen and Alexander Mattison were full participants. Ideally, all four will be able to play. We need the offense to make Thielen a greater priority moving forward.

Dallas is also dealing with a handful of injuries, though they’re looking relatively healthy. Dak Prescott was limited; expect him to be under center on Sunday night. Ditto for Trevon Diggs (except for the under center part; he’ll be doing his best against Jefferson and Thielen). The Cowboys are also dealing with injuries to Dorance Armstrong, Tyron Smith, Randy Gregory, Cedrick Wilson, and Donovan Wilson.

As we all know, pretty much every game feels like a must-win. That’s what happens when you start the year 3-3 in a conference that has five teams with one loss or less heading into Week 8. One thing is for certain: if Kirk steps up to lead us to a Sunday Night Football win, the narratives about him not being clutch will need to be abandoned.