And Just Like That, 2 New Vikings Land on IR

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans (DB11) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier on Wednesday, the Minnesota Vikings announced that a pair of Vikings would be designated to return to practice after stints on injured reserve. Those two players were rookie running back Ty Chandler and starting cornerback Cameron Dantzler. Now, 2 new Vikings have landed on IR on Wednesday. The duo is rookie cornerback Akayleb Evans along with tight end Ben Ellefson.

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Of course, as soon as some good news surrounding the health of the 2022 Vikings rookie class happens, we’d have to get some bad news as well. Overall, the draft class has had horrid luck regarding health, with the Vikings missing each of their top two picks for the rest of the season. Now, Evans becomes the fourth player from the group to spend time on IR, joining S Lewis Cine, CB Andrew Booth, and RB Ty Chandler.

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Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Evans heading to IR is disappointing, but not all that surprising given his recent weeks. Prior to Week 13, he had missed each of Minnesota’s previous two games with a concussion, and then he left the Jets game with more concussion symptoms. Overall, this is his third concussion of the season, so prioritizing his health makes sense for the rookie and the Vikings.

As for Ben Ellefson, he was activated from IR prior to Week 13 on the final day of his 21-day designation period. He had been on IR since suffering a groin injury in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints. A week earlier, he had a career day by catching a pair of passes for 24 yards, both career-highs for the tight end whose never been known as a receiving threat.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings tight end Ben Ellefson (82) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, he’s still not quite back up to full health yet as he is yet to play in a game while he recovers from that groin injury. Head coach Kevin O’Connell mentioned during his Wednesday press conference that he had undergone another procedure but still hopes he’ll return at some point during 2022.

Overall, the loss of Evans means the Vikings will remain shorthanded in the secondary moving into the closing stretch of the regular season. O’Connell said, again, that he hopes that their young cornerback will be back at some point, but the goal is to preserve long-term health over anything else.

The Vikings will release an official injury report later on Wednesday, and then kickoff against the Lions is scheduled for Sunday, December 11th at 12 PM CST.

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.