Two defensive starters battling injury

The Vikings started their week of Patriots preparation without two key defensive players on the field.

The Vikings are in wait-and-see mode with a couple of their defensive starters for a game in which they face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

CB Xavier Rhodes wasn’t practicing Wednesday and was simply hoping to make it back to practice by Friday from a groin injury suffered in Sunday’s opener against the St. Louis Rams.

“I’m going to take it day by day and I’ll know by Friday,” Rhodes said.

Mike Zimmer said he didn’t think Rhodes or defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) would get any work on Wednesday and they didn’t. That could be especially troubling going against a Patriots offense that isn’t afraid to throw the ball often and spread out a defense with three or more receivers on the field.

In a 33-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Patriots had three receivers on the field for 35 of their 80 offensive plays.

“They do a great job in their spread packages and empty packages and getting guys down in different matchups,” Zimmer said. “It’s always been a big thing they run. It could be a lot different of a challenge. Over the course of the years, they’ve changed from time to time. One time they come out they’ll try to establish the run and really pound it. Other days they’ll want to come out and spread it. We’re preparing for a lot of different scenarios.”

Last week, Tom Brady completed 29 of 56 passes (only a 51.8 completion percentage) for 249 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

“Each and every week is difficult. These guys, they have a lot of great players and also they have a great Hall of Fame quarterback,” Rhodes said. “You have to prepare for Tom Brady and his receivers.”

Linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) also wasn’t practicing Wednesday and is likely going to miss a second straight week.


  • In addition to the three players that didn’t practice Wednesday, T Mike Harris (shoulder), G Charlie Johnson (ankle), FB Zach Line (ankle) and LB Michael Mauti (foot) were limited. Johnson wasn’t on last week’s injury report.

  • For the Patriots, DL Michael Buchanan (ankle), TE Rob Gronkowski (knee), DT Chris Jones (ankle), DT Sealver Siliga (hand) and OL Ryan Wendell (knee) were limited. Gronkowski and Wendell are starters.

  • After his third straight regular-season game rushing for more than 50 yards, Cordarrelle Patterson had the over/under for his rushing yards against the Patriots set at 24½ by Patterson had 102 yards rushing against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, including a 67-yard touchdown run. He was given 2/1 odds to score another rushing touchdown.

  • Patterson has scored a touchdown in six consecutive regular-season games.

  • After getting sacks on back-to-back plays Sunday, Everson Griffen has 4½ sacks in his last three game. The Vikings are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the league lead with five sacks after the first week.

  • After beating the Rams 34-6, the Vikings’ odds to win the Super Bowl are down to 50/1 from odds of 75/1 prior to Week 1.
    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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