Vikings Rule Out 4 Players Ahead of Crucial Packers Clash

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In the 16th game of the season, the Vikings can restore their playoff chances after dropping four of the last five contests by beating the division rivals from Green Bay. Minnesota must cheer for a Rams or Seahawks loss in the next two weeks while also taking care of the Packers and the Lions but injuries continue to pile up.

Vikings Rule Out 4 Players Ahead of Crucial Packers Clash

Vikings Rule Out 4 Players Ahead of Crucial Packers Clash
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T.J. Hockenson and D.J. Wonnum exited the game versus the Lions with season-ending injuries and they have since been placed on injured reserve, joining, among others, Kirk Cousins, Marcus Davenport, and Dean Lowry. But even besides those big injuries, the smaller issues also pile up and the depth will be tested in Week 17.

The Vikings ruled out a quartet of players: Byron Murphy, Jalen Nailor, Jaquelin Roy, and Theo Jackson.

Murphy is certainly the most significant player on the injury report. The cornerback was signed in free agency, joining a bunch of unproven players at the position. He was brought in to solidify the CB group after years of struggles and he did just that. While he isn’t a lockdown cornerback with All-Pro performances, he is a solid player which is a big upgrade from some of the players the Vikes trotted out in previous seasons.

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He has excelled at blowing up screens and runs to the outside with phenomenal tackling form but his coverage also hasn’t been poor. Without the CB1 in the lineup, Akayleb Evans will return to the lineup after a brief performance-related absence last week and either rookie Mekhi Blackmon (questionable with a shoulder injury) or sophomore Andrew Booth will take over the CB2 duties. Murphy is dealing with a knee injury and will miss his second straight game.

Wideout Nailor was expected to have a serious role on offense in his second season but injuries have been a huge problem since training camp, keeping him out of all but six games and 94 snaps in which he caught only three passes for 29 yards, despite shaky depth and Justin Jefferson’s injury opening up opportunities. Jordan Addison is listed as questionable for Sunday. If he can’t go, expect a big workload for Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and Brandon Powell as Jaren Hall’s weapons.

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Defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy has appeared in 12 games, including one start, logging 96 snaps on defense and 59 on special teams. The rookie is a depth option in case the opponent has a good running game and lines up in big formations. In his absence, the Vikings will give more snaps to veterans Khyris Tonga and Sheldon Day to spell Harrison Phillips and Jonathan Bullard.

Safety Theo Jackson has surprisingly earned a role in a packed safety group as a do-it-all defender in Brian Flores’ complex system, playing in all 15 games. Jackson is a contributor in defense and special teams, logging a total of 386 snaps (126 of defense). His stint on the injured list could open the door for 2022 first-rounder Lewis Cine to be active on gameday as he has been a healthy scratch for the majority of the season.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt