The Minnesota Vikings' biggest concern on defense could be stopping Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, but that task could be more difficult if Minnesota’s starting defensive tackles aren’t available or playing through injuries.
Nose tackle Linval Joseph hasn’t practiced all week and that was the case again on Friday as he left practice after stretching. He is listed as doubtful to play against the Packers on Sunday night.
Joseph suffered a toe injury more than a month ago, missed three games and returned last week. However, he left last Sunday night’s game briefly before returning.
“Linval’s a beast. To me, he’s a Pro Bowl nose tackle,” said backup defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis. “There’s no way he should have been left out. I just try to work as hard as him and try to emulate everything he does. We’re probably the same age, but that’s literally like a big brother. We’re the same age but he’s just that good so I just try to learn from him.”
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who had moved over to nose tackle during Joseph’s absence, was limited on Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury and was simply an observer at Friday’s practice, but he is listed as probable to play.
Floyd said there wasn’t a setback with his knee injury and said he would play. That could mean duty at his normal three-technique or at nose tackle, where he played when Joseph was out.
“Duty calls, no matter what that may be,” Floyd said. “Three-tech, nose, however it pans out, but at the end of the day we just going out to play ball.”
Those two defensive tackles are key to the Vikings’ effort to help limit Lacy, the Packers’ bruising back who is averaging 106 yards in five games against the Vikings. In their absence Friday, Ellis and Tom Johnson were the defensive tackles. Ellis, acquired on Oct. 20 when Shamar Stephen was placed on injured reserve, said he is still learning Mike Zimmer’s defensive system.
“It’s just trying to get Coach Zimmer’s scheme. It’s not a simple system to pick up. I’ve just been working real hard, trying to understand language, vocabulary and just trying to get in the system as best as I can,” Ellis said Friday.
“I’m still learning. I swear I learn something new every day. Honestly, it takes time – years – to learn that system, to perfect it.”
Zimmer said Ellis is coming along in his system.
“He’s a big, physical guy, has got some athletic abilities. It took him a little while to get the techniques of what we try to do from where he was, but he’s doing good,” Zimmer said of Ellis before he was asked to compare Ellis and Joseph.
“They’re different guys. Linval is more powerful probably, but he’s a big guy, too.”
The good news at Friday’s practice was that defensive end Everson Griffen and running back Adrian Peterson returned to full participation and are listed as probable. Peterson didn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday with ankle and shoulder injuries but sounded like his availability for Sunday night wasn’t in question on Thursday after practice.
Griffen was limited on Wednesday and didn’t practice on Thursday with a shoulder injury before becoming a full participant on Friday.
|Adrian Peterson||28||RB||Ankle/||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Full Part.|
|Linval Joseph||98||DT||Foot||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.|
|Matt Kalil||75||T||Lower Leg||Limited Part.||Full Part.||Full Part.|
|Harrison Smith||22||S||Hamstring||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Full Part.|
|Everson Griffen||97||DE||Shoulder||Limited Part.||Did Not Part.||Full Part.|
|Sharrif Floyd||73||DT||Knee||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Did Not Part.|
|Anthony Harris||41||S||Hip||Full Part.||Full Part.||Full Part.|
|Adam Thielen||19||WR||Low Back||Full Part.||Full Part.||Full Part.|
Friday Injury Report
GREEN BAY PACKERS
|David Bakhtiari||69||T||Ankle||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Limited Part.|
|Mike Daniels||76||DT||Ankle||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Limited Part.|
|Jayrone Elliott||91||LB||Quadricep||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.|
|Mike Neal||96||LB||Hip||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Limited Part.|
|Justin Perillo||80||TE||Hamstring||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.||Did Not Part.|
|B.J. Raji||90||DT||Concussion||Did Not Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Bryan Bulaga||75||T||Ankle||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Letroy Guion||98||DT||Foot||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Casey Hayward||29||CB||Ankle||Limited Part.||Full Part.||Full Part.|
|Eddie Lacy||27||RB||Rib||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|T.J. Lang||70||G||Shoulder||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Corey Linsley||63||C||Ankle||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Sam Shields||37||CB||Concussion||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Josh Sitton||71||G||Back||Limited Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
|Clay Matthews||52||LB||Ankle||Full Part.||Full Part.||Full Part.|
|Nick Perry||53||LB||Shoulder||Full Part.||Limited Part.||Limited Part.|
Friday Injury Report
Questionable-Bakhtiari, Daniels, Neal, Raji, Shields