When the Minnesota Vikings take the field on Sunday versus the Chicago Bears, they’ll be starting their third center this season under Kirk Cousins. Head Coach Kevin O’Connell announced on Friday that third-string center Chris Reed will get the start this Sunday versus the Bears while the Vikings wait for Garrett Bradbury to return from a back injury.
Reed struggled this past week filling in for backup center Austin Schlottmann against Green Bay. Sunday will be a good opportunity for Reed to get additional live reps and it will help the Vikings coaching staff identify if they can trust Reed heading into the playoffs or if they need to pivot to newly signed center Greg Mancz until Bradbury is ready to go.
In addition to the announcement of Reed starting on Sunday, it sounds as if O’Connell is prepared to have all of the normal starters start but then rotate out.
We saw O’Connell play it safe with his starters throughout the preseason. So it comes as no surprise that he plans on making the smart decision Sunday to pull the starters at some point in the game. There is no need to risk any injury to your starters with the playoffs already secured.