Key Vikings Starter Out vs. Eagles; 2 More Questionable

Kevin O'Connell

Getty Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell during the team's 2023 season opener.

The Minnesota Vikings will be missing at least one starter on their offensive line for Thursday night’s primetime matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Center Garrett Bradbury was ruled out with a lower-back injury he sustained in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bradbury played seven snaps before backup Austin Schlottman relieved him. The Vikings struggled to run the ball without Bradbury on Sunday, producing just 41 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Meanwhile, left tackle Christian Darrisaw and Marcus Davenport are listed as questionable with ankle injuries.

Darrisaw left Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers but played through the injury in the second half. He was limited in practice this week, although the team has only had light walkthroughs given the short turnaround for Thursday’s game. If he can’t go, Oli Udoh is likely to get the start against the Eagles.

Davenport did not play in the season opener after sustaining the injury on Thursday, September 8. KSTP’s Darren Wolfson noted that he had seen Davenport “limping badly” in the locker room on Monday.

Wolfson does not expect Davenport will be fully healthy for Thursday’s game.

“The limp wasn’t as noticeable on Tuesday but [he] was stilling limping,” Wolfson said on SKOR North’s “Mackey and Judd” on September 13. “If he’s out there tomorrow night, there’s no way he’s able to play at 100 percent. The ankle is bothering him.”

Kevin O’Connell Addresses Decision to Re-Sign Garrett Bradbury After Center Had Back Issues in 2022

Bradbury missed five games last season due to a back injury that he reaggravated in a car accident. He returned for the wild-card round playoff matchup with the New York Giants.

The former first-round pick signed a three-year contract worth $15.75 million in March as the Vikings opted to retain Bradbury as the team’s starting center.

On Monday, Kevin O’Connell said the team was confident Bradbury made a full recovery from the back injury he sustained during the 2022 season.

“The last thing I can do is have the qualifications to speculate on what and when and how and where and all that stuff,” O’Connell told reporters. “But we felt positive about him, and he’s done everything and had no issues whatsoever through a pretty physical training camp for us to feel really good about it. It’s just how this game goes sometimes, and he’s a tough guy, big part of the interior of our offensive line and we’ll hope to get him back as soon as we can.”

Marcus Davenport Struggled to Stay on the Field With the Saints

Signed to a  one-year, $13 million prove-it deal in March, Davenport was a high-upside gamble the Vikings made at outside linebacker.

Davenport has been one of the most efficient pass-rushers in the NFL when healthy, but he’s missed 14 games in five seasons and never played more than 532 snaps in a single season — which played a part in the Saints’ decision to not re-sign him.

“He’s a remarkably effective pass rusher off the edge when healthy, and his talent alone could be worth the gamble in free agency – especially given the relative lack of edge rushers available,” Davenport’s bio on PFF’s free-agent big board reads. “Since he entered the league in 2018, Davenport’s 17.8% pass-rush win rate and 13.9% pressure percentage are both top-20 marks among edge defenders, and he’s also earned a very respectable 82.1 run-defense grade for his career, which ranks 16th over the span.

“Davenport has five straight campaigns grading above 70.0. The issue is that he’s yet to log 600 snaps in a single season. At the end of the day, top-20 edge defenders against the pass and run don’t reach free agency often, and while his injury list is long, it doesn’t include any devastating ligament tears.”

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