The Week 9 tilt in Atlanta is set to feature two quarterbacks making their first starts this season. For the Falcons, Taylor Heinicke replaces Desmond Ridder, and Jarren Hall will be under center for the Vikings in place of the injured Kirk Cousins.
Minnesota will also be missing their best player as Justin Jefferson remains on the injured reserve, but Atlanta is going to be without their top wide receiver as well.
Drake London didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday as he nurses a groin injury that he sustained in the Falcons’ loss to the Titans and has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s contest against the Vikings.
Without London, expect the Falcons to turn to some combination of Mack Hollins, KhaDarel Hodge, Scotty Miller, and Van Jefferson. It’s one of the thinnest position groups on the roster, and it might rear its ugly head this weekend.
The Falcons have a slew of offensive weapons in Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, Cordarrelle Patterson, Bijan Robinson, and Tyler Allgeier, so it’s not the end of the world, but not having Drake London is undoubtedly a big loss for Arthur Smith and Taylor Heinicke.
He’s not alone either. The Falcons will be without Keith Smith and DeMarcco Hellams as well. The fullback is an integral part of Atlanta’s offense and a core special teamer; the loss is more significant than maybe fans realize. Hellams has been seeing the field more and more as the season progresses as the third safety behind Jessie Bates and Richie Grant.
However, the Falcons will have Mike Hughes, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, and Tae Davis, who has dealt with a concussion, for Sunday’s contest.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire