Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans, the rookie fourth-round pick, has been ruled out for Sunday's game in Detroit, according to coach Kevin O'Connell, after suffering what O'Connell called Evans' third concussion since being drafted by the Vikings this spring.
Evans, who returned Sunday following a two-game absence from a Nov. 13 concussion, collided with safety Harrison Smith as they tackled a Jets receiver during the third quarter. Evans was cleared by team and independent evaluators, according to O'Connell, and returned before taking himself out of the game in the fourth quarter.
"Before Akayleb plays again," O'Connell said Monday, he wanted to ensure "it's 100 percent the right timing for him."
The Vikings will get cornerback Cameron Dantzler back at practice this week with the hope of him starting in Detroit. Dantzler is eligible to return from injured reserve after a four-game absence because of a high-ankle sprain.
"Projecting a little bit, you know, fully practicing and how he'll feel the day after and actually getting to cover receivers and be a part of our plan," O'Connell said. "But we're expecting to have him out there and progress through the week in the hopes of playing on Sunday."
Left tackle Christian Darrisaw could also return against the Lions after missing the past two games while in the concussion protocol for the second time this season.
"He'll continue to phase through the last few protocols that exist," O'Connell said. "He's in a good place right now."
Receiver Jalen Reagor made the most of his two snaps against the Jets, taking a handoff for an 8-yard run and tracking an underthrown deep ball for a 38-yard catch. Reagor, who was acquired Aug. 31 in a trade with the Eagles, has settled in as the punt returner and could see more chances on offense as he progresses in the playbook.
"I'm proud of where Jalen's at," O'Connell said. "A few weeks back, I challenged Jalen and said, 'Hey, the more and more comfortable you can get and feel like you can go out and execute all the different jobs, maybe even at multiple positions, the more opportunity I want you to get.'"
The NFL's celebration line
Alexander Mattison said he's hopeful his touchdown celebration, in which the Vikings running back faked a leg injury before dropping to the turf and twerking, won't draw a fine from the league office after it was widely shared on social media, including by league accounts. The NFL has previously fined players for suggestive celebrations, including Lions running back Jamaal Williams, who was flagged for a hip-thrusting dance at U.S. Bank Stadium during the Vikings' Sept. 25 win.
"Have fun with it, that's what this game is all about," Mattison said. "And I definitely understood the limit of thrusts in order to avoid a FedEx [fine envelope]."
The Vikings will have one fewer day to prepare for the Colts following this week's game in Detroit. The Week 15 kickoff was flexed to noon on Saturday, Dec. 17, the league announced on Monday, and will be aired on KSTP (Ch. 5) locally and NFL Network nationally.
Minnesota will play back-to-back Saturday games with the NFL playing most of its Week 16 games on Dec. 24, including the Vikings-Giants game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
- A year after playing in an NFL-record 14 one-score games, the Vikings are 9-0 in those spots after winning another close one against the Jets. The Eagles, at 5-0, are the only other team unblemished in tight games. "I just don't think it's an accident," O'Connell said.
- The Vikings defense is on a red-zone tear, allowing only one touchdown in nine trips over the past two games against the Jets and Patriots. "There's just not as much space to defend. It allows us to naturally tighten some things up and trigger downhill," O'Connell said.
- Rookie linebacker Brian Asamoah, a third-round pick, played in one defensive series next to linebacker Eric Kendricks. Asamoah got four snaps and no defensive statistics as coaches continue to mix him into games.
- The Vikings opened Sunday night as 1.5-point favorites in Detroit this weekend, but by Monday afternoon the line had already moved to favor the Lions by 1, according to Bovada.