The Vikings are dealing with their longest injury report in a while as they head into a must-win Week 13 matchup against the winless Lions. If there were ever a time to have several key players banged up, it would be this week, but that doesn't mean it isn't concerning.
Let's go over all the latest updates on Vikings dealing with various injuries or ailments.
The Vikings' star running back is expected to miss at least two games with the shoulder injury he suffered against the 49ers. There's hope that he'll be able to return for the Week 15 game against the Bears on Monday Night Football, which is why the Vikings haven't placed him on injured reserve. For now, it'll be Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangwu at running back for Minnesota.
"There's some things that we'll have to change and some little tweaks here and there, but I've got full confidence in Alexander, and Kene's going to get some opportunities," offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said. "[C.J. Ham] always is ready to go even at halfback, so I think earlier in the year Alexander did a great job filling in, and we had success with him in the game, and I don't see that changing."
The rookie left tackle had to leave last week's game against the 49ers with an ankle injury, and his status for this week's game is very much up in the air. He has missed both practices to start the week. If Darrisaw can't play against the Lions, Rashod Hill would make his first start since Week 5.
Barr missed the first four games of the season with a knee injury, but it didn't just go away after that. It's something he's been dealing with all year and will continue to deal with for the rest of the season. He's been limited in practice ever since returning to action and had to sit against the Chargers after playing a ton of snaps against the Ravens the week prior. Barr has yet to practice this week, so a potential absence is always on the table.
“You don’t want something to linger, so we’ve got to be careful with how we practice and how we get ready and determine how we’re gonna use him in the game," co-DC Adam Zimmer said. "Anthony’s doing everything he can to get back. On Tuesday, their day off, he was in rehab for six or seven hours — that’s the type of dedication he has. If he’s right, we’ll put him out there. But if not, we’ll do what’s right for him so this doesn’t linger into the next five games."
Barr is also listed as dealing with a hamstring injury in addition to the knee, which isn't ideal.
In a concerning development, Kendricks missed Thursday's practice with a biceps injury after being limited on Wednesday. Getting downgraded from one practice to the next is often a bad sign for a player's availability, but we'll see what he can do on Friday. Kendricks hasn't missed a game so far this season.
Michael Pierce/Dalvin Tomlinson
One day after the Vikings got Pierce back practicing, they activated their other big defensive tackle off of the Reserve/COVID list. Tomlinson was a limited participant at Thursday's session, while Pierce was out there but wasn't listed on the injury report because he's still on injured reserve. Both players appear to have a chance to play on Sunday, but that's far from a guarantee. Pierce has missed a ton of time and Tomlinson hasn't practiced in ten days while on the COVID list. We'll see.
"It would be great to get those guys back," co-DC Andre Patterson said. "They’re both tremendous players. You know how excited I was about Mike after the first couple of games with him showing his pass rush ability as well as his strength in the run game, so if we get those two guys back, it will be great."
Willekes had a breakout game against the Ravens, but that was almost a month ago at this point and he hasn't played since. He missed the Chargers game while on the COVID list, then didn't play against the Packers or 49ers despite being off the list. If there was any question, Patterson confirmed that Willekes's absences have been about his health.
“No, no, no, he hasn’t been passed by," Patterson said. "He hasn’t been healthy to play. So he’s gonna go out to practice today, we’ll see how he’s doing, but it has nothing to do with guys passing him by. If he’s healthy and he can go and play on Sunday, he’s gonna play. I’m gonna put him out there, and he’s gonna play. I was very impressed with what he was doing, and I expect the same thing from him, so hopefully he can give me a good week at practice and I can give him a lot of run on Sunday."
- Patrick Peterson is the lone Vikings player currently on the COVID list. He'll need to pass through the protocols to play on Sunday, but that doesn't usually happen.
- Everson Griffen remains on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list.
- Camryn Bynum has yet to practice this week with an ankle injury.
- Mackensie Alexander, Bashaud Breeland, and Sheldon Richardson were limited on Thursday.
- Nick Vigil and Armon Watts were limited on Wednesday but upgraded to full participation on Thursday.
- The Lions are expected to be without starting running back D'Andre Swift this week. Jamaal Williams will be the lead back.
Full injury report (through Thursday)
The final injury report with game designations will be out around mid-day Friday.
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