By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings have dealt with adversity this season of all sorts. From suspensions to injuries, the team has faced it all. But when the team heads to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions they will be even more shorthanded than they already were. Four starters did not practice at all during week, which means they will not play this week.
Outside linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, safety Robert Blanton and left guard Charlie Johnson were the only players to miss all three practices and were declared out by the team Friday. They are all dealing with lower body injuries that have occurred at different points this season.
Barr was dealing with a knee that forced him to miss the victory over the New York Jets at TCF Bank Stadium. He was replaced in the starting lineup by second-year veteran Gerald Hodges in the starting lineup. Hodges will likely do so again after intercepting Geno Smith on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown last week.
Floyd has dealt with his knee issue longer than Barr has. Floyd has not missed any games, but has played only a handful of plays in each of the last two weeks before exiting. Rookie Shamar Stephen has started in his place and Tom Johnson will likely continue to play in pass rushing situations.
Both Blanton and Charlie Johnson were injured in last week’s win. Neither looked good. Blanton injured both his ankle and knee, and Charlie Johnson injured his ankle.
Blanton was replaced by Andrew Sendejo. Sendejo, a veteran special teams standout, made a big play in the game by recovering a fumble near the goal line to keep the Jets from scoring.
Vladimir Ducasse finished last week’s game at left guard in Charlie Johnson’s place. Ducasse, a free agent signee in the offseason, started a few games at right guard when Brandon Fusco was lost for the season. Joe Berger took over for him when he got hurt a few weeks later.
If Ducasse starts at left guard, it will be the fifth different offensive line combination to start this season for the Vikings. The only two constants in the starting lineup have been center John Sullivan and left tackle Matt Kalil. After opening the season with Phil Loadholt, Mike Harris has been his replacement since the veteran right tackle suffered a season-ending injury against the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago.
The Complete injury Report
The Vikings list Blanton (ankle/knee), Charlie Johnson (ankle), Floyd (knee) and Barr (knee) as out. They list wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (hamstring) as questionable. They also list fullback Jerome Felton (neck), safety Harrison Smith (shoulder), defensive end Everson Griffen (low back) and cornerback Jabari Price (hamstring) as probable.
The Lions list defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee) as out. They list running back Reggie Bush (ankle) and linebacker Tahir Whitehead (shoulder) as questionable. They also list linebacker Josh Bynes (illness), wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle (head), defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (illness), cornerback Darius Slay (shoulder) and safety James Ihedigbo (illness) as probable.
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.