Husain Abdullah (Hannah Foslien/Getty)
The Vikings’ injury issues mounted after their first post-bye game, and it will be affecting the starting lineup Sunday against the Raiders. Starters on each side of the ball are in doubt, with one on each side already being ruled out. Plus, the statistics that have Leslie Frazier scratching his head and the long odds facing the Vikings.
The Vikings will be without at least a couple of their starters Sunday, and others could be limited.
Safety Husain Abdullah suffered his second concussion in a month against the Green Bay Packers Monday night and hasn’t practiced this week. He was ruled out on Friday’s injury report. In his place, the Vikings will use former starter Tyrell Johnson, and rookie Mistral Raymond will see increased playing time on a rotational basis.
The linebacker corps could also be limited a bit with a hamstring injury cutting into Erin Henderson’s practice time this week. The first-year starter didn’t practice on Wednesday because of the injury he suffered covering a punt in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s loss. He was limited Thursday and Friday and listed as questionable.
“I’m always confident in my ability to play, maybe almost to a fault – who knows?” Henderson said. “I feel good. I think we’ve done the best thing possible we could all week for it – treatment, rest, showing I can run around when they put me out there.”
He had a massage scheduled for Friday night and planned for his first extended time in his brother E.J.’s hyperbaric chamber, figuring he would spend two to three hours in it.
With E.J. struggling with soreness in his knee this season, he and Erin have been rotating roles in the Vikings’ nickel defense.
“We’re actually getting into a perfect place for each of us. Just kind of keep both of us fresh, keep both of us good and make this late push down the stretch, this late stretch run,” Erin said. “Keep everybody fresh, allow everybody to play all out.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said E.J. has been looking good.
“This week he’s practiced better than he has in a long, long time. We were commenting on it (Thursday) when we were watching the tape from practice. He looks fresher than he has in a while,” Frazier said. “He played more like E.J. in that game on Monday night. He made some good plays for us. He looks much better than he has. That bye really helped him.”
The offense has a few starters making their way onto the injury report, as well.
Guard Anthony Herrera will miss his third straight game with a lateral collateral injury, with Joe Berger taking his spot at right guard.
But a couple of skill-position players have also been limited this week. Wide receiver Michael Jenkins (knee) was limited Wednesday and Thursday and returned to a full regimen in Friday’s practice and is listed as probable.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe tweaked a hamstring in Thursday’s practice, causing him to be limited. He is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
CB Marcus Sherels returned to practice after missing Thursday because of a death in the family, and long snapper Cullen Loeffer (shoulder) and quarterback Christian Ponder (left hand) were listed as probable, defined as a “virtual certainty” they will play.
The Vikings enter Sunday’s game with a plus-four turnover ratio and still have a 2-7 record. Those two contradictory statistics underscore the other issues the Vikings have had with injuries, legal issues (with Chris Cook) and parting ways with Bryant McKinnie and Bernard Berrian.
“(Turnovers) was one of the things we hammered when we came to camp in Mankato on July 31, the importance of turnover ratio and how it equates to wins. To be plus-four in Week 9 and be 2-7, it doesn’t add up until you get to some of the other issues that we’ve had,” Frazier said. “You’d take (the plus-four advantage). You’d never want it to be any other way. You always want to be plus, and to be plus-four, it’s a good thing for our team and a reason we’ve been in so many games this season.”
ODDS AND ENDS
The Vikings plummeted in Super Bowl odds after their 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers. They went from 40/1 preseason odds to win the Super Bowl to 300/1 last week to 750/1 this week. That placed them with the likes of the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Only the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins had longer odds at 1000/1, and the Indianapolis Colts are now off the board after having 1500/1 odds last week.
Defensive end Brian Robison was not fined for making physical contact with an official during a shoving match between players during the Packers game.
The Raiders ruled out QB Jason Campbell, WR Jacoby Ford, CB Chris Johnson and RB Darren McFadden. S Michael Huff, S Michael Mitchell, DT Richard Seymour, RB Manase Tonga and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke are questionable.
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.