Given the quick turnaround from Week 13 to Week 14, it’s no surprise that Anthony Barr (Groin), Linval Joseph (Foot), Antone Exum (Ribs/Shoulder), and Harrison Smith (Hamstring) have all been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. A.J. Mansour of KFAN broke the news early Tuesday morning and cast a dark shadow over the hopes of an optimistic Minnesota Vikings fan base.
Coming off a 38-7 drubbing at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings will need to regain their early season form to retain the NFC’s fifth Wild Card spot. They’re currently a game ahead of the Seahawks and two games ahead of a crowded group of teams “in the hunt.” On paper, Thursday’s game heavily favors the Cardinals, who enter Week 14 with the league’s top-ranked offense and fourth-ranked defense.