The Green Bay Packers have placed one of the brighter spots on defense this season on injured reserve, knocking Darnell Savage out for at least a month to heal his calf injury, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky.
Savage was putting together a solid start to his 2023 campaign, with 34 total tackles, 22 solo, and three tackles for loss. Although he hadn't come up with an interception before going on IR, Savage was bouncing back after a disappointing 2022 season in which he was benched halfway through the year.
With Savage missing at least the next four games, it is likely that we will start to see more from rookie seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson Jr. from Iowa State.
Rookie Anthony Johnson Jr. could replace Darnell Savage in Packers lineup
Johnson Jr. played all five years of college football at Iowa State, racking up 245 tackles with 14 for a loss and three sacks while bringing in two interceptions in his senior year as a safety for the Cyclones. Not known as a ball-hawk but more of a physical, hard-hitting safety, it will be interesting to see how Johnson fills in for Savage while he recovers from his calf injury.
With the Packers facing up against a division rival this week as the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field Sunday for the first of two matchups between the teams, it will be interesting to see how Joe Barry's group will respond upon losing one of their key members of the secondary, which has already been littered with injuries this season.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is second among all quarterbacks in passing yards with 2,057. He has also thrown 16 touchdowns to only five interceptions. With a quarterback playing this well coming to town against a depleted secondary, things could get ugly for the Packers.
If the Packers defense wants to slow down Kirk Cousins and the Vikings passing game, it will take all hands on deck, including rookie Anthony Johnson, to step up and play lights out.