On Monday, the Vikings Pulled Off a Couple Roster Additions

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Injuries are running amok on the Vikings’ roster. So far, Kevin O’Connell has found a way of rallying the troops, stringing together five consecutive victories despite all of the missed time from great football players.

Maybe unsurprisingly, Minnesota dealt with some more injury troubles in Week 10 (the Vikings pulled off the win regardless). Alexander Mattison — the RB1 who is more important than ever given that Cam Akers has been lost for the season — had to leave due to a concussion. Moreover, Akayleb Evans left the game and so too did Jordan Hicks, leaving Brian Flores a couple men down within his starting defense. Both are excellent tacklers, something they prove on a weekly basis.

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge (12) runs past Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) after a catch during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The avalanche of injuries has resulted in Minnesota turning outward for reinforcements.

On Monday, the Vikings opted to bring running back Myles Gaskin back into the fold. Not too long afterwards, Minnesota made a move for old friend Anthony Barr, a central player for the Mike Zimmer defense (in fact, the coach’s and player’s time in Minnesota overlapped perfectly). Credit to Adam Schefter of ESPN for being on top of both bits of news.

The Vikings Pulled Off a Couple Roster Moves

According to Kevin O’Connell, Jordan Hicks is dealing with a “shin contusion” that required sending the defender to a hospital to “relieve some of the pressure that was in there.” In O’Connell’s estimation, Hicks is probably going to “miss at least this week.”

Now, Hicks’ injury doesn’t exist in isolation. Minnesota is already navigating life without Brian Asamoah, the sophomore LB who came into the season with a pile of optimism. Maybe the LB3 will be healthy enough to play in Denver, but there’s certainly no guarantee. The end result would be a linebacker room consisting of Ivan Pace, Troy Dye, and Nick Vigil as the Vikings look to take down the Broncos in Week 11.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dean Lowry (94) react after a fumble recovery against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Anthony Barr addition thus addresses the possibility of having neither Jordan Hicks nor Brian Asamoah. Long and strong, Barr has found success in the NFL due to his unique athletic ability alongside being very smart (Zimmer was always outspoken about how sharp his linebacker was/is).

Truth be told, the Vikings would be happier to not need Barr on Sunday, but the veteran will be ready to play if needed. Picking up the defense and understanding what his role is shouldn’t be too much for the 31-year-old Barr.

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) directs the defense against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

A similar set of circumstances are afflicting the offense.

The issue isn’t simply that Alexander Mattison may miss time but, rather, that Cam Akers has already been lost. The double-whammy of (potentially) not having both the RB1 and RB2 means the Vikings were wise to bring in outside help (even if DeWayne McBride may finally get his shot).

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back DeWayne McBride (37) scores a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In all likelihood, Minnesota’s coaching staff would be very happy to see Ty Chandler gobble up 20+ carries in Denver. Doing so will point to a running back who is not only capable of being a true main guy for a week but also one who is likely picking up some decent yardage. Some of his plays against the Saints were excellent — most prominently, his touchdown run — so keep an eye on how Chandler does while trying to overcome the Broncos defense.

Gaskin would be available, though, if the coaching staff thinks the running backs need a bit more help. Kene Nwangwu did get a couple opportunities to carry the football last week, so he’s another option in Week 11.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell have been doing a marvellous job of overcoming the various setbacks that have confronted the 2023 Minnesota Vikings. Sitting at 6-4 after the horrendous start to the season and tidal wave of injuries speaks to the roster’s resilience and belief in what the top leaders are preaching. The culture has changed, and that’s been critical in allowing the Vikings to prove they’re worthy of a playoff spot.

On Sunday Night Football, the Vikings will take aim at their sixth-straight victory. Snagging the win would mean they’re at an unlikely 7-4 after the year’s opening eleven weeks.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.