The Vikings offensive line needs another solid performance from left tackle Blake Brandel, who will get his second NFL start on Sunday against the Jets. Brandel is replacing left tackle Christian Darrisaw for the second straight game.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins will need the best from his blockers against a Jets front that features one of the best interior pass rushers in Quinnen Williams. After the Vikings neutralized Patriots edge rusher Matt Judon, Brandel will face edge rushers Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers.
"He played a really solid game," head coach Kevin O'Connell said of Brandel's first start against the Patriots. "We're going to need that same kind of effort against this group. They're one of the best in our league."
Darrisaw is progressing in the concussion protocol. He returned to practice Friday in a red no-contact jersey for the first time.
Cornerback Akayleb Evans, the rookie fourth-round pick, cleared the concussion protocol this week and returns to the starting lineup. It'll likely be a short stay as starter Cameron Dantzler is expected to return next week from injured reserve.
Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock has been ruled out due to an illness. Tight end Ben Ellefson is still not ready to return from a groin injury that had him on injured reserve until last month. He was ruled out after not practicing this week.
Linebacker William Kwenkeu, the undrafted rookie from Cameroon, was elevated from the practice squad for a second straight week. He played 16 snaps on special teams against the Patriots.
The Jets offense is banged up. Running back Michael Carter will join Breece Hall on the sideline. Tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was placed on injured reserve Saturday. Left tackle Duane Brown, who was listed questionable, will play through a shoulder injury. Tackle George Fant was activated from injured reserve. New York also elevated linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen from the practice squad.
Jets tight end Tyler Conklin returns to Minnesota, where he appeared in many of the 64 games he played for the Vikings over four seasons. Conklin is the Jets' second-leading receiver after signing with New York in free agency last spring. He was a popular guy in pregame warmups on Sunday as many former Vikings teammates came to midfield to catch up with him.
Vikings' inactives: Darrisaw (concussion), Ellefson (groin), Blacklock (illness), OT Vederian Lowe, OLB Luiji Vilain and DL Esezi Otomewo
Jets' inactives: Carter (ankle), Davis (hamstring), TE Jeremy Ruckert, WR Jeff Smith, CB Bryce Hall and QB Zach Wilson