Sunday was decidedly not a great day for the New Orleans Saints. For one, the Saints lost 27-19 to the Minnesota Vikings and dropped to 5-5 on the season. Saints fans are also sweating on the health of starting quarterback Derek Carr, who exited the game in the third quarter after taking a big hit from Minnesota pass rusher Danielle Hunter.
Backup quarterback Jameis Winston had to finish the game and could not inspire a New Orleans comeback, while Saints coach Dennis Allen confirmed that Carr suffered a concussion as a result of the hit from Hunter. Carr also injured his right shoulder for the second time in 2023.
There is a sliver of good news for the Saints and their fans. Carr is eyeing a return to action as soon as possible — and New Orleans has its bye week next week, giving the quarterback some time to heal.
It hasn’t been an easy season for Carr, his first in New Orleans after nine years with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. The 32-year-old has played through the bumps and bruises, throwing 10 interceptions to just four interceptions, but the Saints have lost four one-score games and there must be concerns over the four-time Pro Bowler’s throwing shoulder — which he previously injured in a Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Saints will need Carr in competitive division
If Carr is able to return immediately following the bye, New Orleans will feel good about its chances to win the NFC South — even after the loss at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
The Saints have one more win than the 4-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are now second in the division after the Atlanta Falcons (4-6) suffered a surprise last-second loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the Sunday late window. The Saints pay a visit to Atlanta in two weeks’ time following their bye — and a healthy Carr could give them the edge in a crucial contest.