Austin Schlottmann

Vikings Place RT Brian O’Neill, OL Austin Schlottmann On IR

JANUARY 4: O’Neill is believed to have suffered a partially torn Achilles, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The fifth-year tackle will miss the rest of the season. The partial tear is in addition to the calf injury O’Connell confirmed he sustained, per Andrew Krammer and Randy Johnson of the Star Tribune. O’Neill will undergo surgery.

Coming into this year, O’Neill had never missed an NFL game due to injury. He appears likely to miss some of the Vikings’ 2023 offseason program as well, with O’Connell adding he is hopeful a recovery before the start of next season will commence.

JANUARY 3: The Vikings lost two offensive line starters during a blowout loss to the Packers on Sunday, and both may be done for the season. The team placed right tackle Brian O’Neill and interior O-lineman Austin Schlottmann on IR on Tuesday, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets.

O’Neill left Sunday’s game due to a calf injury Kevin O’Connell called “pretty significant,” while Schlottmann — who had been filling in for injured center Garrett Bradbury — suffered a fractured fibula, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. While it can be safely assumed Schlottmann is done for the season, Tuesday’s transaction will sideline O’Neill for at least four games. Only a Vikings Super Bowl LVII trip could extend the veteran tackle’s season.

The team added former Rams guard Bobby Evans to the practice squad and signed veteran center Greg Mancz to its 53-man roster, but the losses of two starters — particularly O’Neill, who has been a Vikings first-stringer since the early part of his 2018 rookie season — stands to sting for a team that has relied on close wins to reach this perch. The Packers preyed on the Vikes’ vulnerable front in Week 17, a result that knocked the Vikings off their long-held No. 2 spot in the NFC. Minnesota now holds the conference’s No. 3 seed.

Minnesota’s offensive line features five homegrown first- or second-round picks, separating it from the rest of the league this season. Only one of those players, however, is signed to a long-term veteran contract. The Vikings extended O’Neill in 2021, giving the former second-rounder a five-year, $92.5MM extension. He has been a key part of Minnesota’s surge this season. Pro Football Focus rates both Vikings tackles — O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw — in the top seven at the position this season. O’Neill, who has started 75 games, checks in at No. 7.

Signed as a free agent after beginning his career in Denver, Schlottmann has become a key presence in Minnesota since Bradbury’s injury. Schlottmann started each of the Vikes’ past four games, matching his career-high total. Losing both he and O’Neill in the same game forced major adjustments to a line that had been healthy for most of this season.

A lower-back injury has sidelined Bradbury. While the former first-round center missed two games due to the injury sustained on the field, a December car accident affected his recovery. Bradbury said the minor accident caused his back to tighten up. O’Connell said Bradbury’s earliest return window will be in the playoffs, via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert (on Twitter). Bradbury has not practiced since the Dec. 17 crash.

For now, offseason addition Chris Reed — a former Colts spot starter — is set to snap to Kirk Cousins. Fourth-year blocker Oli Udoh, a full-time guard starter for the 2021 Vikings, slid to tackle to replace O’Neill in Green Bay. A 2019 third-round pick, Evans made 12 starts for the Rams on his rookie contract. But the team did not view him as a regular option; its slew of O-line injuries this season led to four Evans starts. The Rams waived Evans this season. Mancz has made 32 career starts, most of them coming with the Texans.

Vikings C Garrett Bradbury In Danger Of Losing Starting Job

Vikings center Garrett Bradbury is in danger of losing his starting job, as Mark Craig of the Star Tribune writes. Although Bradbury has handled all of the first-team reps in training camp thus far, head coach Kevin O’Connell admitted that the NC State product does not have the gig sewn up.

That is largely a result of Bradbury’s struggles in pass protection. Over his first three years in the league, his Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grades have ranked last, last, and second-to-last among centers. He is more accomplished as a run blocker, and O’Connell made sure to mention Bradbury’s running game prowess while acknowledging the need for him to improve in pass pro.

“[Pass-blocking is] where we’re challenging him each and every time; technique, technique,” O’Connell said. “He’s got a good anchor when he’s got his feet underneath him. I think he has the strength to hold up. I think he has the technique to hold up. I think we can do some things with how we protect to try to limit some of the [one-on-one] situations by how we scheme up certain fronts.”

Bradbury missed four games in 2021 but has otherwise started every game for the Vikings since turning pro in 2019. Selected in the first round (No. 18 overall) of that year’s draft, his struggles in protecting the quarterback forced Minnesota to decline his fifth-year option for 2023, thereby turning 2022 into a platform year.

As such, Bradbury’s earning power hangs in the balance. A marked improvement in his game could lead to a lucrative multi-year pact, whereas a demotion could see him hit free agency after having spent a full season as a reserve and with major questions marks about his viability as a starting pivot.

If he ends up ceding his starting role, free agent acquisitions Austin Schlottmann (seven career starts) and Chris Reed (29 career starts) could fill the void, although Reed has never played a regular season game at center. Schlottman has been working as the second-team center.

O’Connell believes that Reed can handle a center’s duties, but one would imagine that his preference would be to have Bradbury step up and seize the job. He has yet to do that, having been burned repeatedly by the Vikings’ interior pass rush in the first several weeks of camp.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/16/22

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/24/21

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/12/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Denver Broncos

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/21

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/2/21

Here is Saturday’s batch of minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Promoted: CB Cam Lewis

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/18/21

The customary Saturday minor moves avalanche:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Promoted: WR DeMichael Harris

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BroncosChargersChiefs and Raiders moves will be noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Denver Broncos

Signed: 

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad: 

Kansas City Chiefs

Signed:

Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list:

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad: