It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line, but on Wednesday they finally got a little bit of good news.
The team has announced that offensive tackle Blake Brandel has been designated for return from injured reserve. That means he could, potentially, be available on Sunday when the Vikings host the New York Giants on Wild Card Weekend.
Brandel tore an MCL in the Vikings’ loss to the Detroit Lions back in Week 14 and was placed on injured reserve, causing him to miss the final four games of the Vikings’ regular season. In that game, he was stepping in for Christian Darrisaw at left tackle as Darrisaw was still dealing with concussion issues. If it’s determined that he’s ready to go for the postseason, he’ll likely be asked to step in at right tackle with Brian O’Neill’s season having ended due to a partially torn Achilles.
Brandel is in his third season with the Vikings, having been drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Oregon State. He spent his rookie season and about half of his second season on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster in mid-2021. He won the job as the swing tackle this season and started three games in Darrisaw’s place prior to his MCL tear.
We’ll know more about Brandel’s status when the Vikings release their first injury report of the week sometime this afternoon. Kevin O’Connell had expressed optimism that Brandel would be ready to go for the postseason, and hopefully that optimism wasn’t misplaced.