Essentials link does nothing and there is no such widget.
Looking closer it is clear that all if the default samsung apps are not present. This is a brand new, bought at Verizon, s8. Is this normal?
The DQA update has started rolling out to all carriers except AT&T at the moment. You cannot access it through the Galaxy App Store, it should just be an auto-pushed update that let's you accept it. If you've declined it recently, it has a 24 respawn timer for it to pop back up.
You can also check by going to your About Device menu in your Settings, and checking manually.
It is disabled by default. Hold down on the screen to get to where you can see the Home Screen Cog. Click that and then Click Apps button, The next screen allows you to toggle between show and hide the Apps Button. Click Apply and you are good to go.