The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints square off in London this weekend, but ahead of that game, New Orleans is going through multiple injury troubles. Most importantly, the Saints starting QB Jameis Winston did not practice on Wednesday ahead of their Week 4 game.
Winston has been playing through four fractured vertebrae in his back since taking a hit in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, and periodically has missed practices over the past two weeks. It is unclear if that is the reason for Wednesday’s absence, but the assumption for now must be that this is the cause.
Early in the season, it’s hard to correlate diminished production with this injury. Through three weeks this season, Winston has had his play impacted by the injury. Winston has completed 63.8% of his passes so far and has 858 passing yards, 4 TDs, and 5 INTs. In 2021, he had a much lower yardage total at 387, but he passed for 7 TDs compared to just 2 INTs through the first three games.
Currently, there are no indications that he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Vikings, but if he were to sit the game out, Andy Dalton looks to be the next man up for the Saints.
Dalton started six games for the Chicago Bears in 2021. The Bears went 3-3 in those games, and the veteran QB passed for 1515 yards, 8 TDs, and 9 INTs. In other games, Chicago went 3-8.
For the Vikings, the biggest concern in this game is going to be containing rookie WR Chris Olave. To start the season, the rookie has been Winston’s favorite target. He has 29 targets for 17 receptions and 268 yards. On multiple occasions, Olave has gotten behind opposing defenses for deep passes, and he would have added a couple touchdowns to his stat line against the Buccaneers in Week 2 if Winston had been able to hit him.
Minnesota cannot let the duo build chemistry if they want to win this game, especially with how talented the Saints are on the defensive side of the ball. Points will be hard to come by, and easy scores could put things out of reach.
The game kicks off on October 2nd at 8:30 AM Central.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken