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Vikings Place Kalil on Injured Reserve, Sign RB Ronnie Hillman

The loss of Adrian Peterson was supposed to be the biggest news out of Winter Park today, but when Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer took the podium this morning, everything changed.

Zimmer quickly addressed Peterson’s surgery, then announced the team had placed left tackle Matt Kalil on Injured Reserve. According to Andrew Krammer, Kalil’s hip injury has been an issue since the preseason. The injury appears to be season-ending, forcing T.J. Clemmings into the starting role at left tackle.

Last season, Clemmings started every game at right tackle for the Vikings and struggled in his rookie season. There’s plenty of room for improvement when Clemmings makes the switch, as Kalil was Pro Football Focus’s 65th-ranked offensive tackle this season.

Later in the press conference, Zimmer announced a few changes in the backfield. He named Jerick McKinnon the starter for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and announced the team’s signing of free agent running back Ronnie Hillman.

Hillman, a third-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2012, spent four season in Denver. There, he rushed 252 times for 1,842 yards and 12 touchdowns, but was released by the Broncos this offseason. The Scouting Academy had this to say about Hillman, who appears to be a complementary fit in Minnesota’s backfield:

[quote_center]”A committee RB on early downs in a ZBS complimented by a West Coast Style Passing game in Spread sets. Possesses solid balance, straight-line speed and vision to compliment his above average ability as a receiver in the passing game.”[/quote_center]

The sudden rash of injuries and roster changes could spell doom for the Vikings, which Zimmer dismissed during his press conference. “I don’t think many people think we can win this game,” he said. “I don’t think many people thought we could win the last game”

He’s right; few expected the Vikings to beat the Packers last week. But they did, and they did so in convincing fashion. It’s okay to worry about the future of the Vikings, but Zimmer’s done more with less before, carrying the Vikings to a 7-9 record in 2014 as a rookie head coach.

Still, Rick Spielman’s roster has been ravaged by injuries, the schedule will only get tougher with every ebb and flow of the season, and others are likely to suffer injuries. The outlook is grim, but Zimmer believes his team can overcome the obstacles ahead.

This team to me is a team — I’ve said before — they’re resilient, they’re tough, they’re competitive.”

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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8 Comments

  1. Well damn, [email protected]!…and ×%#…
    Bradford might not make it through next game.
    What are we going to do? Lay down…lay down and die!
    I’m going to kill the bear…

  2. Let’s see…32 teams, two starting tackles each is 64 tackles, yet PFF rates Kalil 65th? Does that mean he’s rated behind a backup? Seeing how he played against the Packing Company anyone is an upgrade at this point.

  3. Holy crap! two games into the season and we’ve already lost our starting QB, our starting RB and our LT. Not much of a loss there with our LT but still, he was our starter. I guess we’ll find out the true meaning to ‘Next man up’.
    In Zimmer I trust.

  4. It’s a cruel and unfair game. Any word on X. Rhodes and Sharif Floyd ? what about D. Hunter who also seemed to hurt his knee late in the game ? now i know why Speilman likes to have at least 8-9 draft choices a year. I’m more concerned about LT than RB at this point.

  5. Time to start investing up front, a la the Patriots. Why arnt their “skills” players household names? Cause they draft for the trenches early, then get WR and RB later. Makes for less prima donnas too; facilates team first mentality.

    1. Of course, 10 years ago, the Pats were famous for building their OL with mid-round picks.

      I’m happy to see Clemmings get a shot at LT and would like to see Zac Kerin step in for Fusco and Jeremiah Sirles for Smith. I have some hope that our starting OL next year will be Clemmings, Boone, Berger or Easton, Kerin and Sirles.

  6. Times dictate that they start using Patterson out of the backfield. Why not? So he’s not a WR, he’s easily the best home run threat the Vikings have. He must be some kind of dumb or something. I just don’t get it. A great decoy, too. All the plays they’ve been wasting on Peterson going nowhere, they should mix it up , and put Patterson in the mix at RB. Asiata on the screen. Mckinnon on the delay. Let’s do it!!

    1. agree. he seems to have the 6th gear that AP seems to have lost and he has that ‘take it to the house’ feeling everytime he touches it. it is not like he fumbles, or gets bad penalties or is lazy. Norv’s job is to find ways to get these guys involved. Patterson is a pretty solid built guy and can break tackles. We have enough weapons and solid contributors on this offense to make it at least somewhat productive.

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