The Minnesota Vikings are one day away from the entire team taking the field to kick-start training camp. So of course, it’s important to see where some of the key players dealing with offseason injuries have progressed heading into the 2022 season.
Injuries have been a major issue for the Vikings over the last couple of years, especially when it pertains to key players on both sides of the ball.
All teams deal with injuries, but it would be nice to see the injury gods smile on the Vikings for a change instead of pulling the typical Miley Cyrus wrecking ball routine.
Here’s where things stand right now with some of the key players dealing with previous ailments.
WR, Ihmir-Smith Marsette
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Vikings second-year receiver Ihmir-Smith Marsette had his spring cut short after suffering a lower-leg injury during practice. He spent some time in a walking boot, but there was always hope that he’d be able to return at some point during the summer.
So you can imagine the excitement when he came walking through the door without a boot on Sunday, when rookies were reporting to training camp.
Ring chasing 💍@_ihmirr_
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) July 25, 2022
Marsette appears to be fired up and ready to go.
He should be a favorite to work in as the fourth receiver on a crowded depth chart featuring Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn. If the Vikings really do morph into a pass-heavy offense, we could potentially see more of Marsette than we saw in his rookie season.
OLB, Danielle Hunter
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Injury setbacks are becoming a common theme for Danielle Hunter, who is easily one of the best pass-rushers in the league when healthy.
He missed all of 2020 with a neck injury, and he got knocked out once again for most of the 2021 season with a torn pectoral muscle. The hope is that he can stay healthy and form a terrifying one-two punch with former Green Bay Packer Za’Darius Smith, along the defensive front.
Both Pro Bowl pass-rushers have been on the field and competing in the spring practices. So everything looks to be a go for the Vikings’ new pass-rushing tandem.
It’s good news for Minnesota and potentially bad news for everyone else.
CB, Andrew Booth Jr.
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
Rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. wasn’t able to compete during the spring practice due to a sports hernia surgery he underwent back in March.
However, the expectation has always been that he’d be ready by the time training camp rolled around. He signed his rookie contract on Sunday, and the hope is that he’ll be set to go for Wednesday’s practice.
But it’ll be interesting to see if he’s limited in any way.
It might be wiser to err on the side of caution with his recovery considering the Vikings already have Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler at the top of the depth chart. So there’s no immediate need to rush Booth onto the field.
But considering all of the reps he’s already missed during the spring, he could certainly use the work.
TE, Irv Smith Jr.
AP Photo/David Berding
Things start to get interesting at the tight end position for the Vikings.
Irv Smith Jr. was on fire at last year’s training camp before going down with a season-ending knee injury. His mere presence on the field in Kevin O’Connell’s offense gives the team a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
But his absence just leaves the team with more problems. He’s the only proven receiving tight end on a roster full of blocking tight ends.
The good news is that all indications from the outside appear to be the former second-round draft pick is ready to hit the ground running.
But KSTP’s Darren Wolfson did bring up an interesting question when the team was reportedly listening to pitches from Kyle Rudolph’s camp about a potential return to Minnesota, before he signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I do find it interesting that the Vikings haven’t hung up the phone,” said Wolfson, during an appearance on The Scoop with Doogie. “It makes me wonder, and I need to dig more on this. …I may not be able to dig more until next week. But what exactly is going on with Irv Smith Jr.? Is the knee still an issue?”