As Week 2 nears, the Minnesota Vikings are currently missing linebackers Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Everson Griffen days before facing the Cardinals.
It’s been decades since the Purple People Eaters swallowed NFL offenses, but being projected as the No. 1 NFL defense in 2021 was a thrilling development for Minnesota Vikings fans.
According to Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic, there’s one simple reason that the Vikings did so poorly last season: the defense was riddled with injury.
“With Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr still in the mix at linebacker, the Vikings project to have one of the league’s top front sevens.”
That, of course, was before the news broke that Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Everson could all be sidelined with injuries in Week 2.
Minnesota Vikings missing 3 key linebackers ahead of Cardinals game
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin’s injury update provides a lot of information at once, so here is the full situation on the linebackers:
- Eric Kendricks is dealing with a quad injury that kept him out of Thursday’s practice. He is not listed on Wednesday’s injury report, so he could play in Week 2. The Vikings are monitoring the situation closely and reportedly plan to take an MRI.
- Anthony Barr remains out with a lingering knee injury that sidelined him in Week 1. The injury has been affecting him since Aug. 5, and while Barr returned to practice momentarily last week, he’s been out since Sept. 10.
- Everson Griffin missed Thursday’s practice due to a concussion. According to Rotowire, Griffen “wasn’t on the injury report Wednesday, so he likely picked up the injury in practice.” He will have clear concussion protocol if he is to play Sunday.
These are substantial losses for the Vikings to suffer because they drastically alter the defense’s capability. In Week 1, Kendricks led the entire NFL with 15 total tackles. Barr is usually the one that relays defensive play calls from coaches during the game, effectively making him the quarterback of the defense.
As The Viking Age’s Adam Patrick wrote, “the whole season already feels like it’s unraveling” for Vikings fans.