The Minnesota Vikings will be without starting defensive end Jonathan Bullard for at least their next four games.
Bullard, who has started seven games this season, suffered a bicep injury last week against the New York Jets but was optimistic it wasn’t serious.
But after nearly a week of consideration, Bullard was placed on the injured reserve list on December 10, forcing him to miss the final four games of the regular season before he can be elevated off the list and rejoin team practices.
It’s unclear whether Bullard will be back in the postseason considering the Vikings are a virtual lock to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019.
“[Bullard] was examined Monday and a source said then there was some optimism he wouldn’t be out long but that he would be getting a second opinion,” Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson wrote on December 10.
While Bullard goes on the injured reserve list, starting cornerback Cam Dantzler was activated off the list the same day and is expected to play on Sunday.
Vikings Cornerback Carousel Ends With Cam Dantzler Back
After landing on the injured reserve list four weeks ago with an ankle injury, Dantzler had to stand by while watching three different cornerbacks fill his spot in the starting lineup.
Rookies Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth Jr. and veteran Duke Shelley saw starts in Dantzler’s stead, but all brought middling results. The Vikings allowed over 300 passing yards in all four of their last games — including 300-plus yard performances to Mac Jones and Mike White.
Dantzler’s return is the biggest repair to Minnesota’s defense which has slid to allowing the second-most yards per game (398.7) this season.
Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who have a four-week stint on the injured reserve list earlier this season, was back in the lineup last week as the Vikings defense is returning to full strength with a month remaining in the regular season.
Vikings Success is Sustainable Despite NFL Knocking Key Stat
Listed as underdogs to the 5-7 Detroit Lions this week, the Vikings have been penned as the worst 10-2 team of all time due to a historically low +10 point differential.
Although Minnesota’s point differential would look much more encouraging without a 40-3 drubbing to the Dallas Cowboys from Week 11, the argument against the Vikings is that their winning ways are unsustainable due to so many close finishes that could be decided by a bounce of the ball or a coin flip.
Purple Insider’s Matthew Coller has debunked that notion, finding that only four of the Vikings’ nine single-score victories have come with the probability of a coin flip. They’ve had much more control of their destiny than many pundits have given credit for. They’ve also had the sixth-toughest strength of schedule this season.
“The evidence regarding the Vikings’ point differential heading into Week 14 is that it tells a story but not the whole story. We’ll have a better idea if it matters based on what they look like when the playoffs start,” Coller wrote.