Anthony Barr and Christian Darrisaw Practiced in Pads on Wednesday

PHOTO: ELIZABETH FLORES – STAR TRIBUNE

Injuries have plagued the Minnesota Vikings during the 2021 preseason in a way NFL teams fear the most. They entered camp without they’re solution at left tackle, Christian Darrisaw, and lost Anthony Barr to a mysterious knee injury shortly thereafter.

That’s, in part, why Mike Zimmer rested a lot of his starters during the three preseason games the Vikings played. Those extra precautions, unfortunately, couldn’t save Irv Smith Jr from a season-ending injury sustained in game three that nobody knew was a problem the night it happened.

But clouds have cleared a bit at TCO Performance Center and the practice fields looked a little greener on Wednesday afternoon. Right tackle Brian O’Neill walked out of the locker rooms with a lot more green in his pocket too, after signing an extension this morning. And for the first time since camp gathered over a month ago, he walked out with a padded Christian Darrisaw next to him.

Oh, and Anthony Barr was back in pads too, which is a big deal if he’s going to play on Sunday vs the Cincinnati Bengals.

Status for Sunday

Media members are only allowed to film and watch so much of practice so they never know exactly how fully players participate unless injury reports are sent out. Still, we know quite a bit. Darrisaw isn’t going to play against the Bengals on Sunday and was only expected to work out individually today, according to Mike Zimmer. Still, this is a huge step in Christian’s path back to the playing field.

Anthony Barr’s padded practice on Wednesday was significant, if he’s hoping to play on Sunday. Should he stay healthy enough to practice the rest of this week, he should be a go. That would mean a fully-healthy defense for Mike Zimmer vs Cincinnati. Fingers crossed, Minnesota Vikings fans.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan