The Green Bay Packers' struggling offense will need to overcome yet another injury to get back on track against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8.
All signs point toward rookie tight end Luke Musgrave missing Sunday's divisional matchup.
Musgrave suffered an ankle injury in last week's loss to the Denver Broncos and required a walking boot. According to The Athletic's Matt Schneidman, Musgrave no longer had a boot on during Thursday's practice but still didn't participate.
Head coach Matt LaFleur hasn't confirmed that Musgrave won't play, but his comments on Thursday dropped a pretty big hint.
Don't expect Luke Musgrave to play in Packers' Week 8 game vs. Vikings
LaFleur hinted at Musgrave not playing this week when answering a question about fellow rookie tight end Tucker Kraft.
"He's done a nice job. He's gotten acclimated to this type of football in the National Football League, and he's going to have to play big for us this weekend," said LaFleur.
That last line is particularly noteworthy. It seems to indicate the Packers will need Kraft to step in for Musgrave.
If Musgrave can't go, the Packers need Kraft to step up. It doesn't matter if he isn't ready for a starting role. He needs to be ready because Green Bay has no other option.
Veteran Josiah Deguara could take on some of the blocking duties, but he isn't an ideal Musgrave replacement, as they play different roles in this offense. Deguara spends more time in the backfield in the fullback role. Outside of Deguara, it's down to rookies Kraft and Ben Sims.
Kraft has shown improvements in recent weeks after a tough start. He blocked well against the Broncos, and the Packers will need more of that against a blitz-heavy Vikings defense on Sunday.
But Musgrave is irreplaceable. He has made plays as a blocker, but it's his mismatch in the receiving game that makes him special. Musgrave hasn't had a breakout game yet, but his size and speed are on full display each week. The Packers will miss him if he's unable to go, which seems the most likely scenario three days away from the game.
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