Friday, May 26, 2017

Antone Exum Jr

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

NamePositionInjuryWed.Thurs.Fri.Status
Anthony BarrLBGroin/HandDNPDNPLPOut
Scott CrichtonDEConcussion/NeckDNPDNPDNPOut
Charles JohnsonWRAnkleDNPLPOut
Harrison SmithSKnee/HamstringLPLPDNPOut
Everson GriffenDEShoulderDNPDNPLPQuestionable
Linval JosephDTFootDNPLPLPQuestionable
Robert BlantonSKneeFPFPFPProbable
Andrew SendejoSKneeLPFPFPProbable
Brandon WattsLBRibLPFPFPProbable

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Harrison Smith 2015 vs Packers
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings have announced that they will be without both safety Harrison Smith (knee) and cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle) for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith hurt his knee early in Minnesota’s game last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. He was able to finish the game, but needed to wear a brace on his knee to do so.

Waynes’ injury comes as more of a surprise, as his name did not appear on the injury report until Thursday.

The absence of Smith in the lineup comes as a blow to the Vikings defense that will look to prevent Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones from having a big day. Safety Antone Exum Jr. will likely replace Smith in Minnesota’s starting lineup, as he is listed behind Smith on the team’s depth chart.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Watching T.J. Ward sack Teddy Bridgewater and hand the Vikings their second loss of the season last week, I couldn’t help but wonder — “Why don’t the Vikings have an impact strong safety on their roster?”.

There’s Harrison Smith, but he can’t be in two spots at once. The Vikings’ free safety is already making plays against the run and in coverage, most notably when he intercepted Peyton Manning last week and tackled Danny Woodhead with one arm the week before. Since the start of the 2014 season, he’s been Minnesota’s most impressive defender, and he’s close to taking the title of the league’s best safety.

But every Batman needs his Robin, and Smith is operating a one-man show through four games this season. Veteran special teams ace and muscle-bound defensive back Andrew Sendejo opened Week 1 as the starter opposite Smith, but was replaced by Robert Blanton halfway into the Vikings’ embarrassing loss in San Fran…er, Santa Clara.

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Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

Losing Phil Loadholt was only the first blow of the week for the Minnesota Vikings.

Loadholt is out the rest of the season after suffering an Achilles injury in last week’s game. Wednesday’s the team was without center John Sullivan, defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, offensive tackle Carter Bykowski, rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt, safety Antone Exum and cornerback Josh Robinson.

Running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice as he continues to deal with a right thigh bruise, according to reports.

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