New England Patriots

  • The Patriots aren’t the only team dealing with significant offensive injuries heading into their Thanksgiving matchup with the Vikings. Minnesota has already ruled out one starter for the game, and another key player appears to be battling through something as well. Following Sunday’s 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters that starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw won’t play against the Patriots after suffering his second concussion in as many games.

    Losing Darrisaw is a big blow to the Vikings’ offense. The 23rd overall pick in 2021, Darrisaw has been PFF’s top graded offensive lineman to this point in the season.

  • When Darrisaw has come out of the last two games, the drop-off in pass protection has been noticeable. The Vikings hadn’t allowed more than three sacks in a game heading into Week 10, but allowed four against the Bills and then seven against the Cowboys. Kirk Cousins was sacked five times on Sunday after Darrisaw left the game in the second quarter.

    With Darrisaw out, Blake Brandel will likely get the start for Minnesota. A sixth-round pick in 2020 he doesn’t have a lot of NFL experience under his belt. After spending his rookie season on the practice squad, he played 65 total offensive snaps last season. This year he’s been on the field for 79 plays, playing 39 in each of the last two weeks. Against the Cowboys, he allowed four pressures and two sacks.

  • Bob & Zo’s call of Marcus Jones’ punt return TD

  • Given how much Kirk Cousins has struggled under pressure this season, this injury could have game-changing implications. That’s even before considering the strength of the Patriots’ pass rush, which showed no rust coming off the bye week pressuring Jets QB Zach Wilson on more than 40 percent of his drop-backs on Sunday.

    While Darrisaw has already been ruled out, another key player for Minnesota’s offense seems like he’ll at least be limited. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson was added to the injury report last week with a turf toe injury, and didn’t look comfortable on Sunday managing just three catches for 33 yards.

    As is usually the case with players of his ability, the Vikings passing game revolves around Jefferson. Kirk Cousins’ passer rating when targeting him this year is just shy of 100, but falls to 84.1 when targeting any other wide receiver.

    The next injury update from both teams will come Monday afternoon with the first injury report of the week. Game statuses will be released on Tuesday.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.