The Vikings Roll into Week 3 Mostly Healthy, But There’s a Single Glaring Exception

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

True, the Oli Udoh news further depletes the Vikings’ depth, but the team must be feeling somewhat encouraged overall.

The final injury report of the week suggests Minnesota’s front five is getting closer to full strength. Starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw isn’t on the final injury report and starting center Garrett Bradbury has a questionable designation beside his name. Not too shabby given the recent struggles to maintain OL health.

Busy 2nd Day
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings roll into their Week 3 showdown with an offensive line that’s being burdened with resurrecting a lifeless running game. Oh, and keeping Kirk Cousins off the turf is a similarly worthwhile objective that will be at the forefront of the OL’s collective mind.

The most concerning injury has to be the ankle issue that’s keeping Marcus Davenport off the field. A former 1st-round selection, Davenport has the talent to bring the Brian Flores defense to a different level but the former Saint hasn’t been able to do so since he’s trying to get back on his feet.

Losing the pass rusher for Week 3 was easy to foresee since various Vikings beat writers mentioned his absence at practice. Kevin Seifert had this to say: “Did not see Marcus Davenport (ankle) at the Vikings’ Friday practice. Again, assuming he is out for Sunday. Garrett Bradbury (back) was participating for the second consecutive day.”

The Vikings Roll into Week 3 Mostly Healthy (Minus a Notable Exception)

After quarterback, edge rusher may be the game’s most important position. Spend a few moments watching Myles Garrett in Cleveland, Nick Bosa in San Francisco, and/or Micah Parsons in Dallas to see how they can make a difference.

Questions Answered: Vikings Path Forward, Dalvin Tomlinson, Darrisaw Out
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and forces a fumble during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

No one thinks Davenport is close to their level, but he’s an above average option when he’s on the field. Partnering him with Danielle Hunter — someone who is just a step behind Garrett, Bosa, and Parsons — gives the Vikings a chance at having one of the NFL’s more intimidating pass rusher tandems.

At 27, Davenport offers the ability to easily slide into the GM’s self-proclaimed competitive rebuild. Davenport has the upside to help immediately while also being young enough to get the job done for several more years. Injury is the main thing holding him back from his potential, an unfortunate theme of his career so far.

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is pressured by New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers are navigating some injury troubles, as well.

Unfortunately, Vikings fans probably won’t to see linebacker Eric Kendricks playing for his new team. He hasn’t been practising. Even more concerning for LA is that Joey Bosa has been hampered by a hamstring issue. If there’s no Bosa, the Chargers defense takes a major step in the wrong direction.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (69) blocks Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) during the third quarter of their game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

A similar conclusion can be reached for Austin Ekeler on offense, a player who put together a sensational 2022 campaign by surpassing 100 receptions to go alongside his 915 yards rushing and 722 yards receiving. Hard to replace that kind of elite production, folks. He has been missing practice, too.

The game begins at 12 p.m. CDT and will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium. Whoever loses the game will sink down to 0-3. While not technically the death knell for a season, beginning at 0-3 represents a near insurmountable challenge to overcome.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.

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