The Raiders are looking to build off their big 27-11 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Hall of Fame Game by taking on the Minnesota Vikings for the team’s first home game in Vegas on Sunday. Also this week, it was reported that star TE Darren Waller is on the mend from a hamstring injury that is keeping him out of camp.
Waller, 29, is coming off a slightly down year that was largely caused due to a knee injury he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Waller finished the season healthy, but is now injured once again with training camp in full swing.
“(Waller is) working back,” head coach Josh McDaniels said Friday. “Lot of guys with bumps, bruises… They’re all just working extremely hard to try to get back as soon as possible. When they’re ready to go then we’re going to put them out there and try to continue to build.”
For Waller, a Pro-Bowler in 2020, missing time in training camp shouldn’t be too big of an issue. But with the installation of a new offense, as well as his need to get acclimated lining up next to a fellow target hog in WR Davante Adams, Waller certainly would benefit from healing up his hamstring and getting back to practice before the team breaks camp ahead of Week 1.
Vikings Visit the Death Star
The Vikings are traveling to Vegas for their first game of their 2022 schedule and will have the honor of playing the part of the bad guys as the Raiders play in their home opener. Vikings starting QB Kirk Cousins has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be with the team at Allegiant Stadium. It’s not known if All-Pro WR Justin Jefferson will play Sunday, but if he does, don’t expect to see the young superstar play more than two or three series.
On the Raiders’ side of the ball, it remains to be seen how many starters will see action. However, expect many potential starting offensive linemen to play significant snaps, including 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood and 2022 third-round pick Dylan Parham, as the battle for starting spots along the line heats up. The Raiders offensive line is a concern, and there are still multiple starting jobs to be won.
RB Ameer Abdullah has apparently earned himself some favor among the coaching staff and is in line for the “James White” role in McDaniels’ offense, according to SI’s Albert Breer. Breer says that Abdullah has been a revelation and is “carving out a real role.”
Abdullah had two catches and two carries in the Hall of Fame Game, turning one of his carries into a touchdown. If Abdullah hangs onto the pass-catching role, it could mean less opportunities for RBs Josh Jacobs and Zamir White, but he will be yet another piece to what is shaping up to be a high-powered Raiders passing attack.
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