The injury report and inactives list has been released for the Vikings game at the Chicago Bears. First, the Vikings report:
|McKinnon, Jerick||RB||Low back||–||LP||FP||Probable||Active|
Kyle Rudolph is officially back, like everyone expected, and Jerick McKinnon is active (also as expected). The only players who were questionable were Harris and Crichton and neither of them are playing because they don’t offer much over the players they play underneath anyway. MarQueis Gray is the casualty as the Vikings primary corps of 3 TEs is healthy once again.
It seems like the Vikings are still interested in passing game options, however, as all the receivers are active, including the recently emergent Charles Johnson (which is a relative term, of course). Starting in place of Vlad Ducasse is once again Joe Berger. Ducasse is healthy, but Berger is better. There’s not much from an injury perspective that’s interesting for the Vikings.
We expected both Bennett and Marshall to be active, and that means newly promoted Blake Annen isn’t going to see the field. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Bears will have their third receiver active for the first time in Marquess Wilson. I was a fan of his coming out of the draft and wouldn’t be surprised if he got some gains against the Vikings.
Michael Ola will start at right tackle for the Bears in absence of starter Jordan Mills (who is terrible anyway), with Brian de la Puente (a center) playing at left guard. Ola has played both guard and tackle positions this year and only has been marginally acceptable at the left guard position, the position he was originally slated to play without the Mills injury. De la Puente has been an excellent center this year for the Bears without Roberto Garza, but I’m not sure how he’ll do in the mentally less demanding but physically more stressful position at left guard. Ola has put together a +8.0 rating in two games at left guard and -7.3 rating in six other games everywhere else. At tackle specifically, he’s pulled together a -4.2 rating in three games.
The Bears are still vulnerable to rushing from the right side of their offense (where Brian Robison resides) and so the Vikings should find ways to seek advantages there, whether that means switching to under fronts on occasion to stress the right guard-right tackle connection or overloading rushers to that side. Either way, the disruption there and potential communication issues give the Vikings their best chance to create uncertainty and overcome any potential matchup problems in the secondary.
Other than that (fairly significant) offensive line report, the injuries don’t mean much except insofar as Wilson may see the field, and that wouldn’t be a great thing (though again, he’s neither Brandon Marshall nor Alshon Jeffrey).