People have tried to come up with reasons why the Vikings have struggled this season, but few teams can match the amount of injuries the Vikings have had, especially on the offensive line.
When the team released Todd Steussie, it was clear there would be changes on the line, but the death of Korey Stringer changed everything. The team started the year with Brad Badger, Corbin Lacina, Matt Birk, David Dixon and Chris Liwienski on the offensive line.
For most of Sunday's loss, the line consisted of Everett Lindsay, Calvin Collins, Birk, Cory Withrow and Liwienski -- only Birk was expected to start at the position he played all of Sunday when training camp opened.
The injuries have mounted all season, but were highlighted Sunday. Withrow, a backup center, played right guard in place of Dixon, Jim Nelson replaced Kailee Wong at middle linebacker, Antonio Wilson spelled Ed McDaniel at weakside linebacker, Harold Morrow replaced Jim Kleinsasser at fullback, Collins replaced Lacina, Lindsay (who first replaced Lacina) replaced Badger and Tyrone Carter replaced Orlando Thomas at free safety.
Throw in several other key players that have missed significant time -- Robert Griffith, Michael Bennett, Robert Tate, Troy Walters, Patrick Chukwurah, Willie Howard, Michael Boireau, Shawn Worthen, Eric Kelly and Fred Robbins -- and it's amazing the Vikings aren't down in Lions country.
Say what you want about Randy Moss, but these injuries, combined with the losses of Robert Smith, Stringer, Steussie, John Randle, Tony Williams and Dwayne Rudd, some might ask how the Vikings can still be anywhere close to competing for the final playoff spot and not be looking at a lottery draft pick next year.
* This is the first time in his 10 years as a head coach that Dennis Green has been sub-.500 after 10 games.
* Withrow and Nelson are both expected to start Sunday, as Dixon and Wong are both seen as questionable at best. There is also a strong possibility that neither Badger or Lacina will be available and, if they are, it will likely be backup roles.
* DL Jeff Hazunga broke his shoulder blade Sunday night and will likely be put on injured reserve today. The Vikings may take the chance to fill the roster vacancy by signing LB Pete Monty, who was in last week for a workout, or perhaps replace him with another defensive lineman -- either on-again, off-again Viking Fernando Smith or former Lions free agent James Jones. Jones is getting interest from a couple of teams, including the Bears.
* Jake Reed moved into fourth place on the all-time Vikings yardage list for receiving. He could move into third place as early as Sunday with a big game, since he trails Sammy White by 80 yards -- Reed sits at 6,320 yards. He'll stay at No. 3, however, since he's quite a ways behind Cris Carter at No. 1 and Anthony Carter at No. 2.
Injuries Mounting In Unprecedented Numbers
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