By Joseph Gunther
Most base defenses have three linebackers on the field. That would leave the Minnesota Vikings with no healthy reserves for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium.
Rookies Anthony Barr and Brandon Watts have already been ruled out and Chad Greenway is questionable. Barr and Greenway are dealing with knee injuries while Watts has a hamstring issue.
Greenway started last week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, but missed considerable time in it due to his knee injury. After losing his father seven days ago, Greenway described the week as long and emotional.
Greenway wants to play and said that “it would mean a lot” to be in the lineup for the final game of the season. He also turned his status over to Zimmer. However, Greenway has not practiced this week. No player has missed the entire week of practice and still played the following Sunday. The longtime veteran could be the one exception.
“He probably could have practiced today, but we didn’t want to aggravate it more,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “So we’ll just see how it goes.”
Watts made his NFL debut in the loss to the Dolphins, but lasted only a handful of snaps before coming out with the hamstring issue. Zimmer was upset with his ability to stay healthy and his ability to play through pain.
The Vikings had just Jasper Brinkley, Gerald Hodges and Audie Cole as healthy linebackers in practice this week. Brinkley began the season as a starter, Hodges was the top reserve and Cole was mostly used on special teams. Due to the low numbers on the active roster, it is expected that the team will promote one of the two linebackers on their practice squad to the active roster.
Josh Kaddu is the likely candidate because he has been on the practice squad for several weeks. He has been on the Vikings practice squad since Sept. 9. He has been active for five games over the last two seasons. He was released by the Philadelphia Eagles following the preseason.
Undrafted rookie Justin Anderson was added to the team’s practice squad on Wednesday. Anderson was on the New York Giants practice squad before getting promoted to the active roster prior to Week 11. He did not record any statistics, but was active for two games before getting released.
The Complete injury Report
The Vikings list Barr (knee) and Watts (hamstring) as out. They list Greenway (knee), tight end Kyle Rudolph (ankle) and wide receiver Jarius Wright as questionable. They list guard Charlie Johnson (ankle), wide receiver Greg Jennings (hamstring), safety Antone Exum, Jr. (knee), offensive tackle Mike Harris (foot), tight end Chase Ford (foot) foot, safety Robert Blanton (ankle), safety Andrew Sendejo (thumb), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) and running back Matt Asiata (foot) as probable.
The Bears list quarterback Jimmy Clausen (concussion), safety Chris Conte (back) and kicker Robbie Gould (quadricep) as out. They list defensive end Jared Allen (ribs), Al Louis-Jean (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee) as questionable. They list defensive end David Bass (knee), guard Kyle Long (hip), wide receiver Marquess Wilson (knee) and defensive tackle Ego Ferguson (ankle).
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.