According to a report from ESPN's Courtney Cronin, the Vikings are "leaning heavily towards resting a bulk of their starters" against the Bears in Week 17. Locked into the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs, the game is meaningless for the Vikings from a standings perspective.
Cronin did add that the team's plans are not yet finalized.
The Vikings' official final injury report lists just two players as out: Dalvin Cook and Eric Kendricks. Cook hasn't played since suffering a second upper-body injury midway through the Week 15 win over the Lions, and Kendricks left the loss to the Packers with a quad injury and didn't practice all week.
It was a no-brainer to sit Cook and Kendricks – who are arguably the team's two most valuable players – in a meaningless game. The Vikings need both of them healthy to have a serious chance at making an unlikely playoff run.
The question that's not as simple is whether to sit other players, and how many. Alexander Mattison, Jayron Kearse, and Mackensie Alexander are listed as questionable with injuries. Is it worth getting them some game reps if they're healthy? Or is it better to sit them and make sure they're fully healthy for the wild card round?
Then there are all the players not listed on the injury report; starters like Kirk Cousins – who Chad Graff has reported will sit – Stefon Diggs, Harrison Smith, and many more that are key contributors week in and week out. Injuries to any key players in a meaningless game would be devastating.
But then again, injuries are a risk every week, and the Vikings are coming off a crushing home loss. Is it worth playing some starters – especially on offense – to let them bounce back from a poor outing and get some positive momentum as they head into the playoffs?
That's what Zimmer has been trying to decide all week.
"It's always a catch-22 because you always want to go out and you always want to play well," Zimmer said. "These guys like to play. You don’t want to get anybody hurt. You want to start focusing on the new season that is coming up here in a week. There has been a lot of consternation, I guess, on trying to figure everything out."
Zimmer has also mentioned that certain players are very used to playing alongside certain players, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. So if you take one out, you may have to take a couple more out. There's a lot that goes into the decision.
According to Cronin's report, there will be plenty of backups seeing action against the Bears.
We'll have to wait until the game plays out to see exactly who sees the field and who doesn't.