The Minnesota Vikings have featured a factory of injuries this season. Come Monday Night Football, two more starters have been ruled out.
This season, the Minnesota Vikings have done well to overcome injuries and still remain a top-tier team. Heading into the Monday Night Football showdown against the rival Chicago Bears, the Vikings have two more injured starters in Jerick McKinnon and Andrew Sendejo.
Missing any starters can have a negative impact on the game, but there may be some positives to draw from the situation as well.
Life without Jerick McKinnon
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The issues of the Minnesota Vikings running game did not belong to Adrian Peterson despite his slow start. In the same way, they did not belong to McKinnon. The fault lies with the offensive line, and their inability to get a push. One could also say the coaching hasn’t been creative enough to balance the poor offensive line. However you slice it, the blame should not fall on Peterson or McKinnon.
Losing McKinnon means losing his prowess for patience at the line. It also means losing a reliable pass catcher and a home run hitter in defensive breakdowns.
Yet, life without Jerick McKinnon could become a positive for the Minnesota Vikings. Newly-signed running back Ronnie Hillman might finally get meaningful reps. Hillman’s game is similar to McKinnon’s, but he is less of a scat back and more experienced running between the tackles. Hillman might be the catalyst the Vikings have needed to at least return to a four yard average.
Matt Asiata and Zach Line may also gain more reps from McKinnon’s injury. Matt Asiata has barely been effective in the running game this year, but he likely won’t fall in line with his hilarious Madden prediction of one yard and one touchdown. Asiata has proven himself to be a good pass blocker and a solid receiver out of the backfield. Zach Line might prove valuable on a surprise full back run here an there.
Life without Andrew Sendejo
Andrew Sendejo’s loss could be another’s gain. Anthony Harris and rookie Jayron Kearse will be anxious to perform in his absence. Jayron Kearse entered the game for Sendejo against the Eagles in a defensive effort that only allowed 10 points. Kearse had two interceptions, one fumble recovery and five passes defended in the preseason, but his size is what really makes him intriguing. At 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Kearse is a huge powerful safety who isn’t afraid to contribute in the run game.
Andrew Sendejo is having a career year. He has two interceptions early in the season. Despite that fact, he is still by far the weakest member of the defense. The Minnesota Vikings attempted to address the strong safety position in the offseason by bringing on former Titan Michael Griffin, but he didn’t make the roster. Sendejo struggles with tackling downhill runners, he sticks his head down too often and he is prone to take bad angles and chase opponents from behind–something a safety should never do.
Perhaps Sendejo is the best option at strong safety for the Vikings. Fans can’t really be sure until seeing someone else take a crack at the position.