Purple Headlines of the Week: Another Defender Heads to IR, a Surprise Free Agent Target, the Unlucky Vikings

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

To conclude Week 12, the Minnesota Vikings are set to play host to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

It has been another busy week for the Vikings leading up to that game with yet another player heading to IR, and supposedly, the Vikings could be looking to add more depth to their defense via free agency. Here is a look at all the purple headlines from the past week.

Dean Lowry Heads to IR

Purple Headlines
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dean Lowry (94) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The latest Viking to hit IR is Dean Lowry, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle during last weekend’s game against the Broncos.

Lowry has had some struggles during his first season with the Vikings, but he has played in nine games this season on the defensive line, including four starts. Throughout the year, he has recorded 14 tackles, a pass defense, and has recovered a fumble.

With Lowry out, the Vikings will need to rely on more of their depth to fill in for the veteran. Namely, Sheldon Day, Jacquelin Roy, and Khyiris Tonga could be in line for some more snaps.

Vikings Have Eyes on New Free Agent

Oct 15, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Indianapolis Colts made a very surprising decision to release LB Shaquille Leonard from their roster. In the aftermath of the release, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported that the Minnesota Vikings are one of the teams expressing interest in signing the 28-year-old linebacker.

Russini notes: “Leonard spent the last few seasons in Indy after signing a five-year, $98.25 million contract extension in 2021, but then injuries held him back. Now teams still in contention like the EaglesCowboysVikings and others are ‘collecting information’ on him. A league source said Leonard may take his time making a decision.”

The linebacker has had a very strong start to his career, indicating that he has the ceiling of one of the best linebackers in the league. Leonard’s rookie season of 2018 resulted in 163 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks, while he also put together 8 passes defended, a pair of interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles.

The Vikings Are the Unluckiest Team in the NFL

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In case you hadn’t guessed it already, the Minnesota Vikings are the unluckiest team in the NFL, according to a statistic from Tom Bliss, who is a data scientist for the NFL.

Every year, he puts together the win probability added for each team via luck. This statistic comes about by adding up dropped interceptions and passes by opponents, field goals and extra points attempted by opponents, and fumble recoveries by either team. The results of these plays are added up to determine how likely or unlikely teams are to win because of them.

At -195.7%, the Vikings are by far the unluckiest team in the league, almost doubling the total of the Chicago Bears at -100.2%. Making matters worse, the Green Bay Packers have easily been the luckiest team in the league at a positive 173.2%. Here is a look at the full list of teams:

Additional Links

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (5) celebrates his interception against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, we also have a list of additional reading material for the especially studious Vikings fans. Happy reading!

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.