For the second straight week, the Minnesota Vikings will be without three of their top defenders. Linval Joseph, who was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, is missing his third straight game since injuring his foot against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12. Barr (hand/groin) and Smith (knee/hamstring) returned to the field against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago, but haven’t seen the field since leaving that game early in the first quarter.
Both Barr and Smith were ruled out on Friday, opening the door for two of the Vikings’ promising rookies — Edmond Robinson and Anthony Harris. Robinson played well in place of Barr against the Arizona Cardinals and Harris flashed his range in the secondary, breaking up a would-be touchdown to Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd.
A look at the rest of the team’s inactives:
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 20, 2015
A welcome omission from the list? Safety Andrew Sendejo, who will start at strong safety next to Anthony Harris in the secondary. Sendejo has missed the Vikings’ last two games with a lingering knee injury.
Surprisingly, Charles Johnson is inactive with an ankle injury. He didn’t play a snap against the Cardinals and was a mid-week addition to the injury report. Like Johnson, defensive end Everson Griffen missed most of practice this week. He sat out Wednesday and Thursday before returning on a limited basis Friday. He’ll start today’s game while battling through a shoulder injury.
The most important development has to be the loss of Linval Joseph, who was listed as questionable with a foot injury on Friday. Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson, and Kenrick Ellis will again be called upon to fill the sizable void left by Joseph.
On the opposite sideline, a number of Chicago Bears were listed as questionable, but are active for today’s game, including Alshon Jeffery and Pernell McPhee:
All 6 #Bears players listed as questionable are ACTIVE today, including WR Jeffery, OLB McPhee, TE Miller & CB Porter.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 20, 2015