The Los Angeles Chargers will play without one of their top defensive backs when they host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Less than 24 hours before kickoff, the Chargers ruled out cornerback Desmond King for non-injury related reasons.
The news comes one week after Los Angeles sent home starting linebacker Denzel Perryman and defensive back Roderic Teamer from Jacksonville over a disciplinary matter. It remains unclear at this time whether a similar issue led the team to downgrade King.
King's absence coincides with the return of Adam Thielen, the Pro Bowl wideout who has missed almost two months with a hamstring injury. Thielen sees a significant amount of his work in the slot, the area King generally covers for the Chargers defense. King also features prominently on special teams where he has returned a punt for a touchdown and averaged 21.5 yards per kickoff return.
Though the Los Angeles secondary loses King, it regains Michael Davis, who returned this week from his two-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn declared Wednesday that Davis would start at corner despite missing the previous two weeks.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH