Vikings Without a Key Defender, Though Near Full Health

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles against the Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s not quite a perfect situation, but the Vikings are near full health. The final injury report of the week indicates that Ed Donatell’s defense will need to operate without Dalvin Tomlinson, who has been having a strong season. Cameron Dantzler and Jalen Nailor are both questionable.

The hope, of course, is that Dantzler and Nailor will both be able to go. Replacing Nailor isn’t as much of a concern as Dantzler. The latter is one of the team’s starting corners. If he can’t go, then the task will fall to Akayleb Evans, Kris Boyd, and/or Andrew Booth Jr. to play opposite Patrick Peterson.

Nailor is a rookie receiver who arrived through the 6th round. It’s very possible he will end up having an excellent career, but he’s currently this team’s 5th receiver. The offense will primarily be leaning on Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and K.J. Osborn. Oh, and there may have been a notable trade to bring in another pass catcher:

Though near full health, the Vikings will still need to overcome not having Tomlinson. Given his size and position, most fans will likely think of how he helps the run defense. Don’t forget, though, that he’s also capable of rushing the passer. He has a 80.7 pass rush score on PFF, the 8th-best mark among DTs.

Harrison Phillips will continue to get the start in Donatell’s defense. Beside him will mostly be some combination of Ross Blacklock, James Lynch, and Jonathan Bullard.

Washington won’t have Jahan Dotson, Cole Holcomb, David Mayo, or J.D. McKissic to help them on Sunday. Star edge rusher Chase Young also isn’t available, making life easier for Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw (and Kirk Cousins, for that matter).

If things go as expected, Minnesota will climb to 7-1. That being said, we know that sports are unpredictable; Minnesota will need to earn the victory. Thankfully, the Vikings are near full health.

The game will take place at 12 p.m. CT.