Vikings Hopeful That Elite Starter Will Return Against Jets

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before a game against the Miami Dolphins in October 2022.

The Minnesota Vikings are missing two huge components of their starting lineup, huge being the operative word, though at least one has a chance to make his return this weekend.

Left tackle Christian Darrisaw went down against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, November 20, with his second concussion in two weeks, having suffered the same injury against the Buffalo Bills seven days prior. The second-year offensive lineman was unable to return to the lineup on a short week following his injury against the Cowboys and watched from the sideline as the Vikings outlasted the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving Day.

With 10 days off in between contests, however, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said there is a chance that both Darrisaw and cornerback Akayleb Evans, who is also battling a concussion, will be ready to roll this upcoming weekend against the New York Jets.

“Akayleb Evans should get some work in today as he continues to work through the protocols … as well as [Darrisaw],” O’Connell told media members Monday. “Both those guys are progressing, but we’re going to make sure … that player health and safety will be the determining factor with the doctors and their availability as the week goes on for the Jets game this Sunday.”

Dalvin Tomlinson Remains Question Mark For Vikings Defense

Dalvin Tomlinson, Vikings

GettyDefensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (right) of the Minnesota Vikings chases running back Kenneth Gainwell (left) of the Philadelphia Eagles during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 19, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

As of Tuesday, both Darrisaw and Evans were listed as questionable for the Vikings’ December 4 home showdown with the Jets, according to ESPN. Minnesota will release its official injury report with specific designations for all injured players on Wednesday.

Also characterized as questionable Tuesday via the worldwide leader was defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. The massive presence in the middle of the Vikings defense has been sorely missed since he was sidelined with a calf injury sustained during a Week 8 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

The team chose never to place Tomlinson on IR, which requires a player miss a minimum of four games in return for the vacancy of a roster spot. That decision indicates that the defensive tackle has not healed the way the Vikings expected, or at least hoped, that he would.

Tomlinson was playing at an elite level before he was injured, as was Darrisaw. At 9-2, with a relatively easy schedule down the stretch and a stranglehold on the NFC North Division, the Vikings are in the fortunate position of being able to allow both players as much time as they need to recover. Having both big men at their disposal when the playoffs begin will be crucial to Minnesota’s postseason chances, as either could prove a game-changer in what are likely to be close matchups with the rest of the NFC’s best.

Vikings Lose Promising Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. For Season

Andrew Booth Jr., Vikings

GettyCornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (center) of the Minnesota Vikings defends against running back Kenyan Drake (right) of the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium on August 14, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The week hasn’t been all good news for the Vikings on the injury front, as the team officially shut down rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. for the year following knee surgery on Monday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Booth was a second-round pick out of Clemson University in 2022, who possessed first-round talent but a concerning injury history. His loss puts the Vikings in a tough position at cornerback, with Cameron Dantzler still on IR.

Booth’s injury also shines a spotlight on Evans’ recovery, as Minnesota’s secondary grows thin. Safety Lews Cine was lost for the season following a broken leg he that suffered against the New Orleans Saints in London on October 2.

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