In the wake of Sunday’s loss, the Minnesota Vikings already know the status of one of the two offensive linemen that were injured in that game and will be holding their collective breath while awaiting word on the other.
Backup center Austin Schlottmann suffered a fractured fibula early in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and will likely miss the rest of the season for the Vikings as he recovers. Schlottmann was starting at center due to the absence of Garrett Bradbury, who has missed the last four games with a back injury.
With Schlottmann out and Bradbury not likely to play until Wild Card Weekend at the earliest, the center duties will fall on Chris Reed, who took over for Schlottmann after he departed yesterday. From my understanding, the next man up at center after Reed would be Kyle Hinton, who made his NFL debut yesterday after nearly three full seasons on the practice squad. The Vikings have a natural center on the practice squad in Josh Sokol, but it doesn’t seem like the team thinks he’s ready to contribute yet.
The team is also waiting to find out the status of right tackle Brian O’Neill, who also left Sunday’s game in the first quarter. O’Neill will have an MRI on his calf on Monday to determine the severity of his injury, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it isn’t anything too serious.
After O’Neill left Sunday’s game, he was replaced by Oli Udoh, who has started games at tackle before. Blake Brandel had been the swing tackle for the Vikings for much of the season, but he suffered a leg injury and was placed on injured reserve. Depending on Brandel’s recovery, he could potentially be back for Wild Card Weekend as he was placed on IR with four games left in the regular season.
Once we have further word on O’Neill’s injury, we’ll give you an update on his status.