By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings have their lineup pretty much set for Sunday’s season opener against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Head coach Mike Zimmer had few injuries to talk about after Thursday’s practice. Zimmer only had to address minor issues and injuries to reserves.
Quarterbacks – fine. Running backs and wide receivers – nothing of significance. Tight ends – nothing. Offensive line – nothing worth noting. Defensive line – only an illness. Linebackers – hit the hardest, but nothing of significance. Cornerbacks – nothing, really.
Zimmer already said it is unlikely that linebackers Michael Mauti and Brandon Watts will play Sunday. Both seventh round draft picks in their respective classes, Mauti in 2013 and Watts this season, moved around the three linebacker positions and are expected to make their biggest impact on special teams.
The most significant issue was Everson Griffen’s absence from Thursday’s practice due to an illness, but he will play on Sunday.
Rams also relatively healthy
Aside from quarterback Sam Bradford, who is out for the year with a knee injury, the Rams enter Week 1 relatively healthy. They only had two players held out of practice on Wednesday and four others that were limited. The most notable name on the injury report is starting left tackle Jake Long, but he is expected to play.
Another starter limited in practice was linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (shoulder). Joining Long and Dunbar as limited participants were defensive ends William Hayes (chest) and Eugene Sims (knee). Starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson was one of the two players that did not practice. He suffered a knee injury that will keep him out four to six weeks. Also missing from practice was offensive lineman Barrett Jones (back).
Vikings’ long term injuries
The Vikings are dealing with long term injuries to offensive linemen Antonio Richardson and Josh Samuda, linebacker Dom DeCicco and safeties Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford.
Samuda suffered a dislocated ankle during voluntary workouts in April. The rest were placed on injured reserve during the preseason.
DeCicco underwent hip surgery in mid-August and was waived with an injury designation by the Vikings. Raymond suffered a concussion during the first preseason game. Both cleared waivers and were placed on injured reserve.
Sanford was placed on injured reserve the day the roster was trimmed to 53 players. He had been battling a quad injury. He was “frustrated” and “didn’t want to talk” at the time of the move.
Richardson told Star Tribune writer Master Tesfatsion that he had swelling in his knee after the fourth preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. He also said that he is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery this week.
The Complete injury Report
The Vikings listed fullback Zach Line (ankle), linebacker Michael Mauti (foot) and Brandon Watts (knee) as non-participants in Thursday’s practice.
The team listed Mike Harris (shoulder) as a limited participant in Thursday’s practice.
Cornerback Jabari Price (shoulder) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (neck) were listed as full participants in Thursday’s practice.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.