Vikings Defense Looking Thin After Thursday’s Injury Report

One of the biggest problems surrounding the Minnesota Viking in 2020 was the injuries to key defensive players. It forced inexperienced rookies and practice squad members into starting and rotational roles that they just were not ready for, and it showed. Thus far into 2021, the Vikings are unfortunately still battling the injury bug. Not only did Anthony Barr and rookie LT Christian Darrisaw miss the season opener last week, but the list of injuries seems to already be piling up.

On Thursday, two more linebackers appeared on the injury report: Eric Kendricks and Nick Vigil. These are the two players that took the majority of the snaps on Sunday in Barr’s absence, and Vigil especially had a terrific game. Unfortunately, the former Bengal has been limited to this point in the week with an ankle injury. Kendricks on the other hand appeared on the report for the first time today; it was a DNP due to a quad injury.

These injuries could be very significant this weekend for a team that is running thin on LB options. There are only three other linebackers on Minnesota’s current roster: Blake Lynch who saw limited time this past weekend, Troy Dye, and rookie Chazz Surratt. All showed some promise this preseason, but not nearly enough to feel comfortable with them potentially replacing one of the best MLBs in the league in Kendricks. Especially going against a mobile QB in Kyler Murray, this does not bode well at all for the Vikings.

Finally, two other storylines on this defense have sprung up this week. Harrison Hand has missed all of practice this week with a hamstring injury, and Everson Griffen was a DNP today in concussion protocol. If Griffen is concussed, it feels certain that he will not play this weekend, which again, provides some problems for a defense that has been desperate for a consistent pass rush. D.J. Wonnum had a minimal impact in week one, and in Griffen’s 28 defensive snaps, he at least got a QB pressure which resulted in a Michael Pierce sack.

If there’s any good news to come from the injury report this week, it’s that Darrisaw has managed to be a limited participant all throughout the week. After missing the bulk of training camp and all of preseason, these practice reps are imperative if he’s going to be able to get on the field soon. After what we saw from Rashod Hill last week, the Vikings clearly need him, too.