The Vikings experienced the worst of the preseason on Saturday as six players exited due to injury. Three of those players had to exit on a cart and may end up lost for the season.
While only one, Mackensie Alexander, was a lock to make the roster, the loss of several depth pieces and guys competing for spots is not a small issue. Most notable are injuries to Ade Aruna and Cedrick Lang, which appear to be season-ending.
Aruna was a sixth-round pick this year and has been in competition for a defensive line spot. On Saturday, he was taking second-team defensive end snaps before going down. He was hurt on an outside zone run while engaged with his opponent. As he moved towards the sideline, his knees appeared to buckle under him and he writhed on the ground in pain following the whistle. Based on tests performed on the field and the fact he needed a cart, immediate signs point to an ACL injury.
Mike Zimmer already confirmed that Lang’s injury, which also required a cart, will lead to surgery. His offensive line cohort, Josh Andrews, also went down with an ankle injury, though his does not appear to be as serious. Backup fullback Johnny Stanton was the third player to leave in a cart, likely ending his season, as well. Rookie receiver Jeff Badet exited with an apparent concussion following a reception.
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Alexander’s ankle injury appeared to be minor. He was listed as questionable to return, so keeping him out was likely a precautionary measure. He should make a recovery and is a near lock to make the 53-man.
As for the other five, the injuries are going to take a toll on their chances. All five of them were bubble guys to begin with, so any missed time could be detrimental. For Aruna, Lang and Stanton, we are still waiting on word for their prognosis, though outlook seems bleak for them.
Particularly with the offensive line, the Vikings are starting to have major depth concerns. The injuries continue to pile up at a position that had question marks to being with. It would not be a surprise if the first group plays very few series moving forward this preseason.
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