The Green Bay Packers are facing a generally positive situation on the injury front heading into their season opener against the Vikings. One notable absence is expected in the receiving corps, however.
The Packers’ final injury report lists Allen Lazard as doubtful, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. He has been dealing with an ankle injury, which has kept him out of practice throughout the week. The Packers would sorely miss their new top receiver in the event of any lengthy absence.
Lazard signed his RFA tender in June, locking him into a one-year salary of just under $4M. The timing of his contract status couldn’t have been any better, as the 26-year-old is set to take on the No. 1 spot following the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason. A former UDFA, Lazard posted career highs across the board in a complementary role last season with 40 catches, 513 yards and eight touchdowns.
Assuming he misses the Minnesota game, the Packers will turn to veterans Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins at the position, along with rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
openly criticized the young pass-catchers last month as they look to prepare for significant roles right away to begin their NFL careers. Doubs in particular is slated to be a starter, and he has reportedly formed a rapport with the reigning MVP, potentially setting him up for a notable workload especially if Lazard is out.
As Demovsky notes, several other key players are expected to suit up for the Packers. Among those are offensive lineman David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. The former made it clear earlier this week that he expects to be recovered from the torn ACL, which essentially cost him all of last season. The latter, meanwhile, should man the right tackle spot with Bakhtiari back, giving the Packers a formidable bookend tandem.
Tight end Robert Tonyan will also play, after he spent the offseason recovering from his own ACL tear. He, along with running back Aaron Jones, profile as significant contributors in the Packers’ passing game, especially without Lazard on the field.