E Point Perfect

There Was an Outcome Worse than the Score at GB


There Was an Outcome Worse than the Score at GB
Green Bay Packers cornerback Keisean Nixon. © Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Green Bay Packers thoroughly embarrassed the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers knew that his team’s playoff hopes hung in the balance, and he responded by putting the Vikings through the wringer. While the score itself was ugly, what happened on the field, or more who was taken off it, is the biggest problem.

Kevin O’Connell’s team came in relatively battered up front. Christian Darrisaw had missed time earlier this season, having dealt with a series of concussions, and while back, the brain remains a scary thing to injure. Center Garrett Bradbury has developed into much more of an asset this season, but he has been dealing with back issues for multiple weeks. Before the first half was even over, Minnesota added to the problems.

There Was an Outcome Worse than the Score at GB

Center Austin Schlottmann went down with what we now know is a fractured fibula. He is most definitely out for the season. Although he has not performed well by any means in place of Bradbury, he represented depth and had given the Vikings another option. Not long after, star right tackle Brian O’Neill hit the ground with a calf injury that saw him carted back to the locker room, and he has since been placed on IR.

From there, things went downhill fast.

Coming into the season, there was some thought that veteran guard Chris Reed could fight for time at the center position. To this point in his career, Bradbury has primarily been a turnstile in front of Kirk Cousins, and finding ways to keep their franchise quarterback upright was a must. Ultimately it was decided that Bradbury would keep his job, and development notwithstanding, we now know why.

There Was an Outcome
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Chris Reed. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Reed looked like a player who had never taken a snap at the center. The problem was that it didn’t look like he just hadn’t been a center in an NFL game. It looked like he had never gotten a rep there in practice at any point. There were multiple delay of game penalties and problems snapping the ball to Cousins. Reed was the focal point of a line with Cousins constantly facing pressure and showed no ability to play the position he was forced into.

On the right edge, Oli Udoh took over for O’Neill. While Udoh has previously played tackle in the NFL, the downgrade there cannot be overstated. Minnesota already lost backup tackle Blake Brandel while he was filling in for Darrisaw, and Udoh doesn’t have anyone truly behind him to present an alternative. No one will fill the shoes O’Neill is vacating, but having zero options you’re truly ok with is not a great outcome, either.

4 Ex-Vikings Associated with Jets Roster
Dec 23, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) and offensive guard Mike Remmers. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Next week the Vikings can skate by while suggesting they may not care about the result. The Chicago Bears have no benefit in trying to win, and Minnesota finds themselves as a 5.5-point favorite at Soldier Field. They could theoretically rest starters and utilize the game as a time to break in both Reed and Udoh. It still puts both of those backups in harm’s way, but it truly doesn’t matter, considering either being starters in a playoff game would be disastrous.

Wishing for Bradbury is quite the development from a season ago, but that’s where we are now. He probably would have been back by now had his back issue not been aggravated by a car accident. Not having O’Neill and looking at a New York Giants pass rush that will have Kayvon Thibodeaux flying off the edge is not a great thing to be staring down.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.


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