The Vikings will welcome back a key member of their defense when they take on the Jets tomorrow. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is set to return in Week 13, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.
The 28-year-old has been battling a calf injury, and has been sidelined since Week 9 as a result. He has made steady progress in recent days while practicing, though, which led to optimism that he would be available to suit up on Sunday against the Jets. His presence will be felt along the Minnesota’s defensive line.
Tomlinson has been a full-time starter in each of his two years with the Vikings, after he signed a $22MM deal in free agency last offseason. In 2022, the former Giants second-rounder has totaled 20 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Along the way, he has logged a career-high 64% snap share, demonstrating his importance to a Vikings d-line which parted ways with veteran Michael Pierce in the spring.
In other injury news, rookie cornerback Akayleb Evans has cleared concussion protocol, setting him up to play and start on Sunday as well. That will be a welcomed development, given the fourth-rounder’s added importance for the remainder of the campaign in the wake of Andrew Booth‘s season-ending knee injury. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said that Booth’s surgery consisted of repairing his meniscus, which will lengthen his recovery timeline (Twitter link via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune). That will leave significant expectations for Evans for the foreseeable future, as he steps into a starting role on a secondary which is surrendering a league-worst average of 276 passing yards per game.
Left tackle Christian Darrisaw is still in the concussion protocol, per O’Connell. That will lead to a second consecutive missed game for the 2021 first-rounder; no timetable is in place for him to return to action at this point. Minnesota will likely turn to 2020 sixth-rounder Blake Brandel to make his second consecutive start this week, one in which the Vikings could clinch the NFC North title.