The Vikings will be without seven key starters as they take on the winless Lions today in what amounts to an absolute must-win game for Minnesota.
Anthony Barr (knee) is officially inactive for the second time in the last four games after being listed as questionable. Eric Kendricks was already downgraded to out on Saturday, so the Vikings will be without both of their top two linebackers. They'll send out Nick Vigil, Blake Lynch, and Troy Dye at LB against Detroit today.
Also inactive for the Vikings, as we knew, are running back Dalvin Cook and left tackle Christian Darrisaw. Alexander Mattison will get the start at RB in Cook's absence, marking his third straight start in Vikings-Lions games. Kene Nwangwu is active despite dealing with an illness this week, so he'll be the No. 2 back. And in an interesting — and confusing — twist, it won't be Rashod Hill stepping in for Darrisaw at LT. The Vikings are moving RG Oli Udoh to LT, per the Star Tribune's Ben Goessling, and presumably moving Mason Cole to RG with Garrett Bradbury taking back his center spot. It seems like that's overthinking things on the offensive line, but we'll see how it works out.
The other Vikings inactives are rookies Kellen Mond, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, and Camryn Bynum.
In addition to the four inactive starters, three more are on reserve lists. Danielle Hunter is on IR, Everson Griffen is on the Non-Football Illness list, and Patrick Peterson is on the COVID list.
At least they get defensive tackles Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson back. Pierce returns after missing seven games with an elbow injury, while Tomlinson is off the COVID list.
That list doesn't even mention No. 1 tight end Irv Smith Jr., who suffered a season-ending injury in training camp.
Despite all the injuries and other absences, the Vikings still have more than enough talent to win this game comfortably on paper. But they'll have to go out and execute on both sides of the ball if they want to avoid another nail-biting finish.
The Lions are without top RB D'Andre Swift, so they'll turn to ex-Packer Jamaal Williams.
On Saturday, the Vikings elevated DE Kenny Willekes, FB Jake Bargas, and S Myles Dorn from the practice squad.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all season long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.