Minnesota Vikings Depth is Being Tested

Vikings Defense
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end D.J. Wonnum (98) and defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates a sack of Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Against Dallas, the Minnesota Vikings had a tough time relying on depth players to get the job done. The corners struggled without Patrick Peterson, and the pass rush just wasn’t the same without Danielle Hunter. Of course, these factors do little to change the fact that it was an awful loss; after all, Dallas was dealing with their own prominent injuries. As the team looks ahead to their Baltimore game, they’re again confronted with the reality that depth players will need to play a prominent role.

After the season-ending Danielle Hunter injury, Minnesota picked up Jonah Williams off waivers. According to Vikings.com, Williams was signed as an UDFA by the Rams in 2020: “Williams spent the 2020 campaign on the Rams practice squad and this summer made the team’s 53-man roster coming out of training camp. Through eight games this season, he has five tackles. Williams has played 96 of the Rams defensive snaps (17 percent) and 41 special teams snaps (19 percent).” Obviously, Williams won’t be a replacement for Hunter. Instead, the hope is merely that he can help solidify the d-line rotation.

The team’s initial injury report included some prominent names. Everson Griffen didn’t participate simply because has was receiving a veteran rest day; Harrison Smith was limited for the same reason. Neither Anthony Barr nor Cameron Dantzler participated in practice. If neither can go, Minnesota will have a real issue since the remaining depth Vikings don’t inspire a ton of confidence. Nick Vigil would need to take on more snaps at LB, and Zim would need to choose between Harrison Hand or Kris Boyd for the corner opening.

Otherwise, Dede Westbrook was a full participant. Michael Pierce and James Lynch were limited. Having Pierce back in the lineup would be massive. The Dalvin Tomlinson – Michael Pierce duo ought to be one that makes like extremely difficult for an opposing offense. Being able to run on those two is a challenge. Unfortunately, injuries have meant that Pierce has been absent for a lot of the season so far. Having him back will be huge for our chances of limiting Lamar’s Ravens.

Speaking of which, the Minnesota Vikings aren’t the only team that may need to lean on their depth. The Ravens have six players on their injury report, and all six didn’t participate. LB Justin Houston, QB Tyler Huntley, iOL Patrick Mekari, RB Latavius Murray, WR Sammy Watkins, and DT Brandon Williams are all on the injury report. Houston was merely receiving a vet day. Our OL – as you may have heard – can struggle against powerful defensive linemen. A Williams absence would therefore make life easier for the offense. Watkins would also be a significant absence for Baltimore.

Dropping to 3-5 would make the season even more depressing for Vikings fans, reinforcing the feeling that the year is spiraling away. At this stage, it’s tough to know what kind of Vikings team will show up on Sunday. All we can say for certain is that the game is likely to be a stressful one.