No Christian Darrisaw for the Vikings in Week 12

For the second time in as many weeks, the star left tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, Christian Darrisaw, was forced to leave the game with a concussion.

During the Vikings win against the Buffalo Bills in Week 10, Darrisaw went back to the locker room during the first half and never returned. In his stead, Blake Brandel took over the left tackle spot and performed admirably throughout Minnesota’s comeback win.

This time around, it largely ended up going exactly the same way, but Brandel could not repeat his performance from Week 10. Instead, Cousins was sacked a career-high seven times during Minnesota’s blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11.

Christian Darrisaw Will Miss Thanksgiving Game

This concussion suffered by Darrisaw becomes a big problem for the Vikings moving forward, and it begins this week against the New England Patriots. Minnesota hosts New England on Thanksgiving night, meaning that they have just four days of rest before the game. That immediately brought into question whether or not Darrisaw would be available for that game.

And now, head coach Kevin O’Connell has given an answer. During his postgame press conference, the Minnesota Vikings head coach confirmed that they would be “cautious” with their left tackle, and he won’t play on Thursday.

This is 100% the correct call. We’ve already seen what can happen when concussions are not taken seriously enough (Tua Tagovailoa), and with the trajectory that Darrisaw’s career has taken, risking his long-term health for an extra win in 2022 would be irresponsible.

Coming into Week 11, Darrisaw was the NFL’s top graded offensive lineman by PFF. The 2021 first-round pick has improved seemingly on a weekly basis, and he is proving himself to be one of the best tackles in all of football.

Not Time to Panic

The Minnesota Vikings currently sit at 8-2 with a four-game cushion over the Detroit Lions (yes, the Lions currently sit in second) for first place in the NFC North. Of course, finding a way to get the No. 1 seed throughout the NFC playoff bracket would have been ideal, but at this point, it seems much more logical to simply get healthy ahead of the tournament.

Without Christian Darrisaw in the lineup, this could result in another loss against the Patriots, who boast the second-most sacks in the NFL behind only the Cowboys. However, the Vikings have bought themselves a few off-weeks because of their early season start.

When healthy, the Vikings have proven they can hang with some of the better teams in the NFL, regardless of if they play the game at U.S. Bank Stadium or not. Losses never sit well, but better to go through the rough stretch now rather than in January.

Following Thursday’s game, the schedule begins to get easier in terms of quality of opponent. The remaining teams are the New York teams (who both lost in Week 11, including the Giants loss to the Lions) as well as a home matchup against the Colts and the final three games against the NFC North divisional opponents. Only the Giants and Jets currently sit above .500 among the final six opponents scheduled to take on the Minnesota Vikings this regular season. We shall see if this team can get healthy by the time these December games roll around.

Kickoff between the Patriots and Christian Darrisaw-less Vikings is scheduled for 7:20 PM CST on Thanksgiving night.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.