Vikings are Without 2 Linemen Against Packers

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and center Mason Cole. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Very soon, we’ll have a better sense of all this “fraud” and “fluke” talk. Like many others who follow the purple and gold, I’d be very pleased to see a Vikings victory, especially if it involves Justin Jefferson having another monstrous performance (and a griddy or two). Unfortunately, the Vikings are without 2 linemen for the game.

Vikings are Without 2 Linemen

Once again, the Vikings will be working without starting center Garrett Bradbury. Last year, Bradbury missed time and Mason Cole – the replacement – arguably gave the team some better play.

In 2022, that hasn’t been the case. The backup center is Austin Schlottmann, who has been doing a nice job of competing. Nevertheless, Bradbury’s notable step forward this season makes his absence more important. In short, he has been making a difference out there.

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) snaps the football along side of guard Ezra Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Bradbury’s partner in crime, LG Ezra Cleveland, was on the injury report earlier in the week. In his third season, Cleveland has further solidified himself as the LG of both the present and the future. His rock-solid 73.2 score on PFF comes in at 12th among the 83 guards considered in their ranking. For context, rookie RG Ed Ingram has a 56.5 score, 59th overall.

Cleveland isn’t on the final injury report, so he’s ready to roll.

Furthermore, versatile defensive lineman James Lynch won’t be able to go. At this point, Lynch is a depth option for the Ed Donatell defense. His size allows him to move anywhere from 1T to 5T, making him a valuable backup. Esezi Otomewo will likely get Lynch’s snaps.

Otherwise, it’s notable that Cameron Dantzler looks like he’s ready to return. There has been some belief on PurplePTSD and Vikings Territory that Dantzler will reclaim his starting spot, but I don’t think that’ll be the case. I’ve got my eye on Duke Shelley for the CB2 job. Shelley has earned it.

Questions Answered: Revised Win-Loss Prediction, Irv Smith Limited, Cine's Prognosis
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. © MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL / USA TODAY NETWORK.

In all likelihood, Aaron Rodgers is going to be the QB1 on Sunday. He is going to be in the Hall of Fame someday, but his performance in 2022 has been more modest than recent seasons. Whether blitzing him is a wise strategy is open for debate. What isn’t up for debate, though, is that finding a way to fluster Rodgers should be a top priority for Ed Donatell.

Rodgers missed some practice time during the week to help nurse knee and thumb injuries. We should expect to see him out there when the game begins.

Though the Vikings are without 2 linemen, the hope is that they’ll still be able to find their way to a 13th win. Doing so would almost completely eliminate GB’s chance of making it into the postseason. FiveThirtyEight suggests that they’d drop down to just a 3% chance of making the postseason after a Week 17 defeat.

The game is scheduled to begin at 3:25 p.m. CST.