With many players already sitting out for the Minnesota Vikings, several more found their way to the training room in a win over the New York Jets.
A year ago, the Minnesota Vikings had many memorable (and perhaps magical) moments on their way to a 13-3 season and an appearance in the NFC Championship. They boasted an elite defense that carried the load when the offense wasn’t on all cylinders and put forth a solid team that could compete with anyone.
While some want to resort to magic, karma, and fairy dust to describe what happened to the Vikings last year, it may have had a more simple explanation; they simply stayed healthy.
Yes, the Vikings weren’t able to avoid the injury bug on the offensive side of the ball as Sam Bradford tapped out to his balky knees after one game and Dalvin Cook tore his ACL. However, the luck Minnesota had on the defensive side of the ball was almost uncanny in a season where almost everyone across the league got hurt.
As a unit, the Vikings’ defensive starters missed a total of four games last season. One of those games wasn’t even injury related as Andrew Sendejo served a one-game suspension for a hit on Mike Wallace.
This year has been a different story as injuries have popped up on both sides of the ball for Minnesota.
Everson Griffen has been out since Week 2 for personal reasons while Dalvin Cook has missed the same amount of time (minus a cameo in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams) with a hamstring injury. Also add in the absences of Linval Joseph (knee, groin, back) and Andrew Sendejo and things were starting to pile up.
Then came the Vikings victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. While a 37-17 win looks great on the scoreboard for Minnesota, the game’s injury report has the opposite effect.
First, Vikings left guard Tom Compton left the game with a knee injury. Then linebacker Anthony Barr left with a hamstring injury and All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes left the matchup after getting tangled up with Jets receiver Robby Anderson.
According to the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson on Sunday, head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t seem too concerned about the increasing number of players in the training room. However, this is becoming an increasing concern.
Although the Vikings have their bye in two weeks, they still have to get through next Sunday’s NFC showdown with the New Orleans Saints.
Such a task would be even more difficult if Rhodes isn’t able to go for a matchup with Saints receiver Michael Thomas and Barr’s absence could be a problem with New Orleans’ two-headed monster of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield.
Minnesota needs to find a return to health soon or what looked like the beginning of this team finding its stride, could end up being just another stumble out of the gate.