Questions Answered: Playing Starters in Week 18, OL Injuries, Bad Vikings Losses

Questions Answered: Playing Starters in Week 18, OL Injuries, Bad Vikings Losses
Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by PurplePTSD. Today is the January 2nd edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

Questions Answered: Playing Starters in Week 18, OL Injuries, Bad Vikings Losses

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Q: Do you think the Vikings should rest all starters at Chicago?

Playing Starters in
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

A: We believe the Vikings should rest starters against the Bears, but they will not.

Kevin O’Connell told reporters Monday he plans to play starters at Chicago, so he’s either being sneaky with misinformation or will do it.

Sunday’s injury to Brian O’Neill should be a cautionary tale — one the Vikings can learn from one week later. Unless you think the San Francisco 49ers will lose to the Arizona Cardinals — not happening — the Vikings date at Soldier Field is meaningless.

We’d rest starters, but O’Connell disagrees. Such is life.

Q: Do the Vikings have the current roster oomph to overcome injuries to Brian O’Neill and Garrett Bradbury?

Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) readies at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Bears defeated the Vikings 33-27. (AP Photo/David Berding)

A: No.

The familiar pass-protection troubles that plagued the Vikings in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 will likely return without O’Neill and Bradbury. Thankfully, quarterback Kirk Cousins is “used to” this. It’s a return to normalcy for Cousins.

Regrettably, you should taper your postseason expectations. If the Vikings get out of Round 1, they will likely face formidable defensive lines in the 49ers and Eagles. Reservist offensive linemen — and even some starters — can’t hold up against those groups.

Vikings fans basically have to hope that Oli Udoh is a marvelous right tackle.

Q: With the Vikings losing three games in an embarrassing fashion, does that mean anything for their playoff legitimacy?

Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

A: Getting bashed by the Eagles, Cowboys, and Packers probably means the 2022 Vikings are not the real deal. Super Bowl-bound football teams don’t get creamed once a month. There is minimal precedent for it.

Of course, Minnesota could become one of the first teams ever to stink up the joint every now and then — and then barnstorm the playoffs to a Super Bowl. But that isn’t very realistic.

Kevin O’Connell has created a terrific building-block season in his first year with the Vikings. That should be the major takeaway from 2022.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).