While Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer engages in a bit of gamesmanship regarding his starting quarterback, perhaps Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is doing the same with his top cornerback, Sam Shields.
Making his last remarks before Sunday night’s showdown in Minneapolis, McCarthy on Friday morning said Shields was being examined for the concussion he sustained during the fourth quarter of last week’s win at Jacksonville.
“I do not have any update as far as progress” through the concussion protocol, McCarthy said. He added, “Tomorrow is a key day.”
On Friday afternoon, Shields was listed as doubtful, meaning he is unlikely to play. The Packers frequently file updates following their Saturday practice, so Shields’ status could be subject to change. (UPDATE: The Packers ruled out Shields on Saturday.)
Also for the Packers, Josh Hawkins is out, leaving only Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter as healthy cornerbacks. Special-teams standouts Chris Banjo and Jayrone Elliott are doubtful, too.
For the Vikings, they will be without two starters: defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Left tackle Matt Kalil is questionable.
Shields’ history will be taken into account before he returns to action. Last year, he missed the final three regular-season games and the playoff opener at Washington with a concussion. Shields also suffered a concussion in 2014, though it didn’t cost him a game, and he missed one game with a concussion sustained in 2011 after intercepting then-Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. During the offseason, Shields said he had one at the University of Miami, as well, so this latest concussion would be No. 5. None of the previous three, however, kept him sidelined for so long as last year’s, which came against Dallas when his head slammed against the Lambeau Field turf. That one caused him to black out and left him with lingering headaches. He called that one “real scary.”
While every concussion is different, that history has to be disconcerting for Shields and the team. It's worth pointing out that after this game at Minnesota and next week's home opener vs. Detroit, Green Bay has a bye.
“That's what the protocol is for,” McCarthy said. “So everything is part of the analysis of each player's injury, so history, all those things are factored in.”
Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt on Thursday said the defense would be fine without Shields. Whitt’s sole concern is on Shields getting healthy.
“I worry about all my players when they get hurt, no matter the injury,” Whitt said. “I care about them first, and that’s why I think we are a close group because it’s not just football with us. It is a personal relationship, and Sam understands that. That’s the first thing that we talked about after the game. This is about you getting healthy. Don’t worry about anything else other than you taking care of yourself, and then we’ll worry about football games. Because we have enough guys in our room to win, so I’m not worried about the winning aspect of it. I just want him to take care of him, and when he comes back, he comes back and he’ll help us win. Whenever that is, that is when it is. I’m not worried about it.”
|S Chris Banjo (hamstring)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Doubtful|
|WR Trevor Davis (shoulder)||Limited||Full||Full||Questionable|
|OLB Jayrone Elliott (hamstring)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Doubtful|
|CB Josh Hawkins (hamstring)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|WR Jeff Janis (hand)||Full||Full||Full||--|
|CB Sam Shields (concussion)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|C Nick Easton (ankle)||Limited||Limited||Full||--|
|TE Rhett Ellison (knee)||Full||Full||Full||--|
|DT Sharrif Floyd (knee)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|WR Charles Johnson (quad)||Full||Full||Full||--|
|LT Matt Kalil (hip)||DNP||DNP||Limited||Questionable|
|LB Eric Kendricks (ankle)||Full||Full||Full||--|
|RB Jerick McKinnon (foot/lower leg)||Limited||Full||Full||--|
|RB Adrian Peterson (ankle)||Full||Full||Full||--|
|TE MyCole Pruitt (knee)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|CB Xavier Rhodes (knee)||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|TE Kyle Rudolph (knee)||Full||Full||Full||--|
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.