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Iron Man Streak Ends for Vikings Defender


Iron Man Streak Ends for Vikings Defender
Vikings Helmet. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski).

The Minnesota Vikings take on the Washington Commanders on Sunday, and they’ll be without a defender who’s never missed a game.

That’s Dalvin Tomlison, a stalwart of the Vikings defensive line in 2022. The 28-year-old injured his calf in Week 8 versus the Arizona Cardinals. He was ruled out of Week 9 action on Friday.

A free-agent addition in 2021 from the New York Giants, Tomlinson has started 87 consecutive games dating back to his selection in the 2nd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Vikings Can Seize Divisional Opportunity
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

In his stead, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell stated that newly-acquired free agent Khyiris Tonga would experience ample playing time, although O’Connell did not formally nominate a starter. James Lynch is expected to see an uptick in defensive snaps, too.

The Vikings are 6-1 through Week 8, the team’s best start through seven games of a season since 2009. And Tomlinson isn’t a menial player in that equation. As of November 4th, Tomlinson ranks as Minnesota’s seventh-best player per Pro Football Focus:

  1. LT – Christian Darrisaw (85.8)
  2. EDGE – Za’Darius Smith (84.4)
  3. WR – Justin Jefferson (80.6)
  4. EDGE – Danielle Hunter (79.9)
  5. CB – Patrick Peterson (77.9)
  6. RT – Brian O’Neill (76.5)
  7. DL – Dalvin Tomlinson (74.6)
  8. QB – Kirk Cousins (74.4)
  9. LG – Ezra Cleveland (74.0)
  10. RB – Dalvin Cook (73.9)

In fact, Tomlinson’s grade is the 18th-best leaguewide through Week 8 among all interior defensive linemen. The man will be missed.

Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer shakes hands with defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Tomlinson has tabulated 21 tackles, 6 pressures, 3 QB hits, and 1.5 sacks so far in 2022. He’s an anchor of the Vikings interior line and is arguably one of the few players not to encounter a bad game this season.

Thankfully for the Vikings sake, his injury isn’t season-threatening, possibly hinting at a return in Week 10 or 11. His injury recovery rate is unknown because, well, he’s never missed a game.

The Commanders offense ranks 30th in the NFL per DVOA, so Minnesota won’t face a rip-roaring juggernaut in Landover. However, a rip-roaring juggernaut is on the docket in nine days as the Vikings travel to Buffalo for a date with Super Bowl-frontrunning Bills.

We shall see if Tomlinson is ready for that ominous matchup.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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