Vikings injuries: Rudolph, McKinnon probable

RB Jerick McKinnon said he is ready to play after a lower back injury this week, and TE Kyle Rudolph is expected to play for the first time since Week 3. Both are listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the Bears.

After suffering a lower back injury that placed him on the injury report on Thursday, Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon says he will be ready for action Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

He is listed as probable on Friday’s injury report.

“It’s something I’ve been getting treated for. It feels good … just ready for Sunday,” McKinnon said after Friday’s practice. “I think I’m pretty comfortable with whatever workload they place on me. I’m just ready to go out there and execute.”

That’s good news for the Vikings running game, which will be without star running back Adrian Peterson for the ninth consecutive game as he awaits a Monday afternoon hearing between him, the NFL and the NFL Players Association in hopes that he will be reinstated to play soon. He was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List after he was indicted on child abuse charges in Texas. Last week, Peterson pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.

In his absence, McKinnon and Matt Asiata have taken the majority of the carries. McKinnon is up to 446 yards on 90 carries and entered Week 11 sixth in the NFL with a 4.96-yard average per carry. He also leads all rookie running backs in rushing yards.

Head coach Mike Zimmer said McKinnon just “tweaked” his back and “should be good” to play against the Bears.

McKinnon said he anticipates Sunday’s game at Soldier Field could be the coldest he has played in. He played college ball at Georgia Southern and grew up in Marietta, Ga.

He hasn’t fumbled the ball yet and said that is always an emphasis from running backs coach Kirby Wilson, no matter the temperature.

“That’s an every-game thing, an every-week thing that Coach Kirby preaches to us, especially in away games,” McKinnon said. “… If they get a fumble it would be a momentum-getter for them. That’s something that he always puts focus on.”

The Vikings also expect tight end Kyle Rudolph to be able to play Sunday as he has ramped up his rehabilitation from September surgery to repair a sport hernia.

“I would expect him to play,” Zimmer said.

Rudolph was also listed as probable on the injury report.

Rudolph hasn’t played since the Vikings’ Week 3 game against the New Orleans Saints. While he said he wasn’t sure if he would play Sunday – he said he feels good but isn’t yet 100 percent – Zimmer continue to relay confidence that Rudolph would be ready, although he could be on a snap count.

Rudolph, McKinnon and TE Chase Ford, also listed as probable with a foot injury, were all full participants in Friday’s practice.


  • Rookie DE Scott Crichton, listed on the injury report this week with a hip injury, said on Friday he has “just a little soreness.” He was listed as questionable, as was OL Mike Harris (ankle). Crichton was limited in Friday’s practice and Harris didn’t practice at all.

  • With their outdoor practice field not yet safe enough, according to Zimmer, the Vikings opened the doors to their practice facility – including an oversized garage door, to get the fieldhouse as cold as 26 degrees in some parts as preparation for playing at Soldier Field on Sunday, where the temperature is expected to be around 30 degrees at kickoff.

  • Zimmer said he was a Bears fan growing up in Illinois, but “the Vikings are my team now.” He mentioned watching Buddy Ryan’s defenses with the Bears in the 1980s and learned from him.

    “Anytime you’re around great coaches and guys that in a lot of ways reinvented the game back then, in 1985, I think you always try to take some of it, whether it’s the mentality that he had,” Zimmer said. “I was fortunate enough to sit in some of their defensive meetings. I had him come out when I was coaching at Weber State, I had him come out and do a clinic for us, sat down and had a couple of beers with him. I think you always try to learn from the guys that are really, really good.”

    For the Bears, TE Martellus Bennet (ribs), CB Tim Jennings (ankle), WR Brandon Marshall (ankle), CB Terrance Mitchell (illness) and DE Cornelius Washington (illness) are probable. WR Josh Morgan (shoulder) is questionable, T Jordan Mills (ribs) is doubtful, and OL Eben Britton (illness), DE Trevor Scott (knee) and LB Darryle Sharpton (hamstring) are out.

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