Vikings Lose Elite Starter For at Least 1 Game After Scary Injury

Christian Darrisaw, Vikings

Getty Left tackle Christian Darrisaw of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings lost more than a football game on Sunday afternoon.

The Vikings lost some of their mystique as one of the NFL’s top teams, as the Dallas Cowboys dismantled them by a score of 40-3 in Minneapolis — the franchise’s worst home defeat in nearly 60 years. They lost some of their swag, humbled by a top conference opponent after a thrilling overtime win against the Buffalo Bills just one week before. And worst of all, Minnesota lost left tackle Christian Darrisaw to his second concussion in as many weeks.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell addressed Darrisaw’s injury during the postgame press conference.

“Christian Darrisaw was ruled out with a concussion,” O’Connell said. “Obviously, second concussion in a couple weeks. We’re gonna be extra cautious with him moving forward … and I can say he won’t be playing on Thursday.”

The head coach continued, stressing that the team took every precaution and followed the league’s concussion protocol exactly after Darrisaw left last week’s contest against the Bills with his first head injury.

“My concern is just about CD and making sure that; he’ll be in the protocol like he was last week. He checked all those boxes going into tonight, and ultimately we’ll make sure,” O’Connell said. “This is one of our best players with a long-term future here, and we’re going to make sure that CD — like we did this week — but we’ll make sure he’s absolutely ready to roll when that time comes.”

Darrisaw’s Absence Leaves Huge Hole in Vikings Offensive Line

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

GettyDefensive end Dorance Armstrong of the Dallas Cowboys sacks quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of a game at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Vikings won’t have much time to lick their wounds, facing a quick turnaround that involves hosting the New England Patriots (6-4) on Thanksgiving Day.

Down the six-foot, five-inch and 315-pound Darrisaw, there is a considerable hole on Minnesota’s suddenly porous offensive line that surrendered seven sacks to the Cowboys on Sunday. His absence was clearly felt, as the Dallas defensive front harassed quarterback Kirk Cousins all day long.

“When you lose your left tackle early on in the game, sometimes you can try to move that … around,” O’Connell said. “They just kept finding ways to affect Kirk.”

He explained that the Vikings coaching staff will have to find a solution on the fly considering they have only four days to prepare.

“We’ll take a look at it,” O’Connell added. “We’ll just take a look at our game plan, how we see ourselves trying to play this game on Thursday knowing that it’s a tight turnaround. There’s not gonna be a lot of time for full speed reps or development.”

Darrisaw’s absence against the Patriots will be of even more concern because New England is second in the NFL in total sacks with 36 behind only the Cowboys. Offensive lineman Blake Brandel was listed second on the depth chart at left tackle as of Sunday, while Olisaemeka Udoh is the likely third-string option at the position.

Darrisaw Already Among Best Tackles in NFL in Only Second Year

Christian Darrisaw, Vikings

GettyLeft tackle Christian Darrisaw of the Minnesota Vikings during pregame against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Darrisaw will be next to impossible to replace, as he is already among the best tackles in the entire league.

“#Vikings left tackle Christian Darrisaw is No. 1 rated tackle in NFL by Pro Football Focus with grade of 89.8,” Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweeted on November 14. “He said before season a goal was to make the Pro Bowl. Now he says it’s also to be first-team All Pro. He has a good shot. He left Sunday’s game due to a concussion.”

Hopefully, Minnesota will not have to attempt to replace their left tackle for long. The Vikings’ short week makes it nearly impossible for Darrisaw to get back on the field by Thursday, but the flip side of that coin is the team will get 10 days off before hosting the New York Jets on December 4.

Two concussions in back-to-back weeks is both scary and potentially liable to leave Darrisaw susceptible to more head injuries in the immediate and long-term future. Due to those facts, expect the Vikings to be extremely cautious. That said, two weeks is a good deal of recovery time and leaves open the possibility that Darrisaw misses just the one game against the Patriots on Thanksgiving Day.

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