Vikings RT O'Neill to undergo surgery for Achilles tear

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Minnesota Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his Achilles tendon and will require surgery, coach Kevin O’Connell said on Wednesday.

O’Neill, a Pro Bowl selection in 2021, was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday after the steady veteran sustained what O’Connell called a "significant" calf injury during Minnesota’s 41-17 loss at NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The fifth-year pro has never previously missed a game due to injury since joining the Vikings as a second-round pick in 2018. O'Neill has started 75 regular-season games and two postseason contests during that span.

"It's going to be a hard thing to replace, especially that consistency," O'Connell said. "What I've challenged some of the guys is understanding the standard Brian set at that position."

Oli Udoh, a 16-game starter mostly at right guard last season, took over for O'Neill last week and will start Sunday's regular-season finale at Chicago as well as the NFC North champion Vikings' upcoming playoff games.

O'Connell said O'Neill is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2023 season.

Minnesota will also be forced to start third-string center Chris Reed against the Chicago Bears in Week 18 after Austin Schlottmann was also placed on IR after he fractured his left fibula in the Green Bay loss.

Schlottmann had started the Vikings' past four games in place of regular center Garrett Bradbury, who is still recovering from a back injury but is hopeful of returning for the playoffs.

"We felt their loss [Sunday], and we're going to have to do everything we can to have those players stepping into those roles ready to play good football for us and contribute on the offensive side," O’Connell said on Monday.