The NFL eliminated the designation of “probable” from their weekly injury reports, changing the way teams classified players for the 2016 season. “Probable” used to be defined as a “virtual certainty” that the injured player would play that week.
Instead, with the elimination of probable for 2016, the NFL kept the following designations: out (will not play), doubtful (unlikely to play) and questionable (uncertain if player will play).
In addition to the 12 players the Minnesota Vikings ended up with on injured reserve at the end of the season, many others missed games here and there because of shorter-term injuries. In the 16 games played, the Vikings had 43 instances in which players were listed as out in the injury reports issued two days prior to each Sunday game and another eight designated as doubtful. None of those players played, as they shouldn’t.
But the gray area comes with the “questionable” designation. The Vikings had 35 instances in which players were classified as “questionable,” and in 24 of those occurrences they played. However, with injury reports issued two days before a Sunday game, three of those players (Captain Munnerlyn, Marcus Sherels and Edmond Robinson) were downgraded to “out” the day before the game.
The NFL policy states that teams should provide accurate injury information on those reports.
“The policy requires that teams provide credible, accurate and specific information about injured players to the league office, their opponents, local and national media, and the league’s broadcast partners each week during the regular season and postseason,” the policy states.
While Mike Zimmer is one of the NFL coaches that believes in offering little or no real information on injuries when talking to the media, the injury reports issued by the team appear to have been an accurate representation of the status of players since all 51 instances of players being listed as “out” or “doubtful” resulted in those players not playing, and when it became clear a day before a game that a “questionable” player wasn’t going to play, the team updated their injury report to downgrade those three players to “out.”
Based on the numbers from 2016, about 75 percent of the time a player is listed as questionable he ended up playing (it was exactly 75 percent after the three day-before-game changes were counted).
Here are the stats from the Vikings’ 2016 season:
FINAL VIKINGS 2016 INJURY STATS
OUT: 43 times, plus three day-before-game additions (all 43 were inactive)
DOUBTFUL: 8 (all 8 inactive)
QUESTIONABLE: 35 (24 active, but 3 of the 35 were DOWNGRADED TO OUT the day before)
Here is a list of the players that were questionable and how many times they were active when listed as such:
- Stefon Diggs 3-4
- Charles Johnson 3-3 in playing when questionable
- Munnerlyn 2-3 (the one time he didn’t play, he was downgraded to OUT)
- Sherels 1-3 (one of the inactives was downgraded to OUT)
- Eric Kendricks 2-2
- Harrison Smith 2-2
- Jerick McKinnon 2-2
- Laquon Treadwell 0-2
- MyCole Pruitt 0-2
- Matt Kalil 1-1
- Xavier Rhodes 1-1
- Cordarrelle Patterson 1-1
- Andrew Sendejo 1-1
- Linval Joseph 1-1
- Terence Newman 1-1
- Matt Asiata 1-1
- Joe Berger 1-1
- Mackensie Alexander 1-1
- Jarius Wright 0-1
- Zac Kerin 0-1
- Edmond Robinson 0-1 (was downgraded to OUT)