Vikings Injury Report: Reiff Healthy, Morgan Done For Season
The good news: the Vikings are as healthy as they've been all season heading into this weekend's important road game against the Detroit Lions.
The bad news: fourth-year tight end David Morgan, who had spent the whole season to this point on the PUP list, needs season-ending knee surgery.
Let's start with the bad news. This was the week Morgan would've been eligible to return off of the PUP list, but the medical staff and team have clearly decided that his injury requires surgery, ending his season.
Morgan, a sixth-round pick out of Texas-San Antonio in 2016, had established himself as arguably the Vikings' best blocking tight end. At 6'4" and 265 pounds, his size, strength and technique allowed him to be a valuable asset in pass protection and run blocking. He was also a key contributor on special teams, even filling in at long snapper briefly last season.
After catching a single pass as a rookie, Morgan did have 15 catches (on 18 targets) for 131 yards and a touchdown over the past two seasons.
However, Morgan's pass-catching role is clearly secondary to his value as a blocker. It would've been very interesting to see how his role would've shaken out with Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin all on the roster. He presumably would've taken rookie Brandon Dillon's spot on the active roster.
Earlier this week, the Vikings waived DE Tashawn Bower, who was eligible to return from the non-football injury list. "We felt like some of the guys we had on the team have more upside," Mike Zimmer said.
Reiff ready to go
Okay, onto the good news. Starting left tackle Riley Reiff left last Sunday's game with an ankle injury, and was replaced by Rashod Hill for most of the game. But after missing practice Wednesday and being limited Thursday, Reiff was not on the final injury report and is good to go against the Lions.
Right guard Josh Kline is also absent from the injury report. This will be just the fourth time in seven games that the Vikings offensive line is fully intact. Kline has missed two games and left guard Pat Elflein has missed one.
The only spot of concern is linebacker depth. Gedeon will miss another game, and it's possible Brothers will too. Behind Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, the Vikings have Eric Wilson and Cameron Smith, the rookie who was recently called up from the practice squad.
In total, though, with Mike Hughes and Mackensie Alexander healthy and the offensive line intact, this may be the healthiest the Vikings have been all season.