The Minnesota Vikings injured reserve list has claimed seven players as of December 3rd, with six games remaining in 2022 and a resplendent 9-2 record.
The season began with relatively good health, proceeding until after the bye week before “normal” NFL injuries arrived. Now, though, the injured reserve list has ballooned and is more akin to other teams’ volume.
Notably, the Vikings lost 1st-Round rookie safety Lewis Cine in Week 4 at London after the Georgia alumnus broke his leg. That was the first major injury for the 2022 Vikings, and others have arrived since.
This is the Vikings seven-person injured reserve list through Week 12:
- (CB) Andrew Booth — Out for Season
- (RB) Ty Chandler — Unknown Return Date
- (CB) Cameron Dantzler — Eligible to Return Week 14
- (WR) Thomas Hennigan — Out for Season
- (WR) Bisi Johnson — Out for Season
- (TE) Irv Smith — Unknown Return Date
- (DE) Kenny Willekes — Out for Season
Booth capped an injury-riddled rookie campaign this week with season-ending meniscus surgery. The Vikings selected Booth in Round 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft and must now wait until 2023 to experience the fruits of his labor.
Chandler, also a rookie, was injured about six weeks ago, and it is unclear if he’s on the shelf for the remainder of the season. The North Carolina alumnus broke his thumb against the Chicago Bears in October.
Dantzler, a starter, can return next week against the Detroit Lions, and it sounds like he’s indeed on track to play. Minnesota’s secondary ranks 32nd in the NFL per passing yards allowed, so welcoming Dantzler back is damn near required for a team barreling toward the postseason.
Hennigan, Johnson, and Williekes don’t start and arguably wouldn’t have impacted the 2022 Vikings much with or without injury. Although, some fans and pundits believed Johnson could serve as Minnesota’s WR4 if needed. But that projection was before general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah swung a trade for Jalen Reagor from the Philadelphia Eagles.
And Irv Smith is the wildcard. He encountered a high ankle spring in a Week 8 win over the Arizona Cardinals and hasn’t been seen since. To rectify the TE1 deficiency, Adofo-Mensah traded with the Detroit Lions for T.J. Hockenson, who’s only notched more catches (26) than any TE in NFL history in the first four games with a team. The trade was probably worth it. Smith may not be in the Vikings long-term plans after the Hockenson deal.
But there you have it. Dantzler, Smith, and Chandler will likely be on the way back before too long. The others are wait-and-see for 2023.
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).