Kevin O’Connell and his staff have done a remarkable job of ensuring the Vikings are healthy heading into the regular season. Indeed, the team’s injury report only lists one player, and he still has a good shot of playing on Sunday.
Defensive end Jonathan Bullard is the lonely Viking on the injury report. He was limited on Wednesday due to a biceps injury. Hopefully, Bullard will be able to play without any restrictions.
Perhaps even more important is the names that are missing. The piece on the team’s website draws attention to how Irv Smith Jr. doesn’t find his name included: “The news continues to bode well for tight end Irv Smith, Jr., who suffered a thumb injury early in training camp. After missing all of 2021 with a torn meniscus, Smith remains on track for his first regular-season action since the 2020 finale at Detroit (Jan. 3, 2021).”
It’s also worth noting that Andrew Booth Jr. doesn’t have his name included. The rookie corner hurt himself during the preseason. Thankfully, it looks like he’s ready to roll if the team needs him to play.
Overall, the Vikings look really healthy. Give the coaches, the broader staff, and the players credit. The Vikings.com piece puts it this way:
Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and Minnesota’s Player Health and Performance staff set an offseason goal for being as healthy as possible for the Vikings Week 1 game against the Packers.
They worked diligently and opted to withhold most starters from playing in preseason games.
The approach has seemed to help, as defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (biceps) was the only player listed on Minnesota’s initial injury report of 2022.
Meanwhile, the Packers are dealing with quite a few injuries. Allen Lazard – who looks like he may be the new WR1 – didn’t practice. David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Darnell Savage, and Robert Tonyan were all given the “LP” designation, meaning they were limited participants. All five of those players are very important to the Packers. Their offense will look much different without the help from their 2 best offensive linemen and then the starting TE + WR.
The Packers also list five other players as full participants, the most notable of whom being kicker Mason Crosby and receiver Christian Watson. Watson, of course, stands out to many Vikings fans since he was picked following a draft-day trade between Minnesota and Green Bay.
In a perfect world, both the Vikings and Packers can play their Week 1 game completely healthy. This perfect world can then (ideally) feature a decisive Minnesota victory.
The game will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium this Sunday afternoon.