Going into their game in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings are dealing with a couple of injury issues. Some of those issues have left them short at a pretty important position, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.
Tashawn Bower (ankle) and Everson Griffen (personal issues) are both going to miss Sunday’s game for the Vikings, which means that they only have two defensive ends on the roster healthy enough to play on Sunday: Danielle Hunter and Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly has started the past two games in Griffen’s absence, and Hunter has had a strong start to the season. The rest of the defensive end depth chart, however, is on the shelf in some way. The Vikings had signed Jonathan Wynn to the practice squad earlier this week, but as of Saturday night had not made a move to place him on the main roster.
It will be interesting to see how the Vikings handle this, and there are a couple of different potential solutions. First, the Vikings have rookie Jalyn Holmes available and could potentially use him as a defensive end. Holmes has not been active for a game yet this year, and primarily worked on the inside in camp as a three-technique tackle. However, he played a lot of defensive end in college and could fill that spot in a pinch.
The other solution. . .and one that I’d, frankly, like to see. . .involved linebacker Anthony Barr. During the offseason, the Vikings had said that they were going to attempt to use Barr more as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, particularly in pass-rushing situations. However, we haven’t really seen much of that during this early portion of the regular season. With the situation the Vikings are currently looking at, however, they might not have much of a choice. The upside of that is that it would give Barr the opportunity to get after the opposing quarterback, and it would keep him far away from opposing wide receivers. This can only be considered a good thing.
Like I said, I’m not sure exactly what the Vikings are going to do as far as their defensive end situation on Sunday, but they don’t have a whole lot of readily-available solutions at this point, either.