The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings could be missing their top cornerbacks for their Sunday night showdown in Minneapolis.
The Packers’ Sam Shields sustained a concussion during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win at Jacksonville. The Vikings lost tXavier Rhodes to a knee injury before Sunday’s win at Tennessee.
For Shields, his history is the concern. He sustained a concussion last season against Dallas on Dec. 13 that sidelined him for the final three regular-season games and the playoff win at Washington.
“Anytime any of our players is in the protocol and dealing with a concussion, it’s a concern,” coach Mike McCarthy said on MOnday. “That’s why we’ll evaluate Sam each and every day to make sure he’s healthy and goes through the challenges of what he’s dealing with. It’s a protocol. I think they do a great job, particularly our doctors, of taking it one step at a time. We definitely are aware of his history and that will factor in on how we move forward.”
Shields, in his seventh season, never has played a full season. He entered this season having missed 17 games, including a game at Minnesota in 2011 due to a concussion.
Without Shields down the stretch vs. the Jaguars, the Packers went with Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter as their cornerback trio for their preferred nickel package. Rollins started Sunday’s game with a pass breakup that resulted in an interception but wound up getting benched after giving up one touchdown and missing a tackle on a screen. When Shields went down, Rollins returned to the lineup and broke up an end-zone pass to Jaguars star Allen Robinson that helped preserve the win.
“I like the way he battled back,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “He made a really big play there at the end of the game where they tried to throw the ball up to Robinson, who’s one of the better go-deep and go-up-and-win-the-one-on-one-battles (receivers). I thought that’s the best thing that he did. I was encouraged the way Quinten battled through those things. You’ve got to have a short memory out there and you’ve got to come right back and make your plays. You can’t let it affect you and I thought he battled through.”
Rhodes heard a “pop” in his right knee before the start of the team’s game against Tennessee.
He could still walk around, but knew something didn’t feel right. The team then took the cautionary move of listing him as inactive. He was scheduled to have an MRI on his knee Monday afternoon and it showed that he will not need to have surgery, but coach Mike Zimmer said he does not know how long Rhodes will be out.
“It’s really great that I’m walking, so I’m not too worried about it,” Rhodes said prior to his MRI. “It is scary that it happened out there, but like I said, I’ll just take it day by day and see where it goes from there.”
There is no timetable for Rhodes’ return.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.