Kyle Rudolph (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY)
The Vikings were already thin on defense, but injuries to Phil Loadholt, Kyle Rudolph and others are now depleting the offense.
The Minnesota Vikings are on a short week with their roster of healthy players growing shorter.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who was the Pro Bowl MVP in February, fractured his foot Sunday while scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. He is expected to miss “close to a month” but won’t be placed on season-ending injured reserve, according to head coach Leslie Frazier.
“That’s pretty serious. We’ll get the timetable here pretty soon,” Frazier said.
Rudolph scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter, but as he was trying to power through two tacklers as he approached the end zone, his foot got caught underneath one of the defenders.
“He just got twisted there. I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It’s a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up.”
The Vikings have already been without TE Rhett Ellison, who has been inactive three of the last six games with ankle and knee injuries, including Sunday. Earlier last week, Frazier was optimistic that Ellison would be able to play against Dallas, but he was inactive, bringing about the debut of TE Chase Ford, who was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday.
Right tackle Phil Loadholt suffered a concussion in the second quarter and didn’t play in the second half. With their next game already on Thursday night, Loadholt isn’t expected to be ready for action. Charlie Johnson was also injured but didn’t miss a snap.
The Vikings entered the game short-handed on defense. S Harrison Smith is out until at least December with turf toe and S Jamarca Sanford missed Sunday’s game with a groin injury. DT Fred Evans was also out with a knee injury and CB Chris Cook with a hip injury.
In addition, DT Letroy Guion (shoulder) was injured during Sunday’s game and RB Matt Asiata is attending his father’s funeral.
“All of those guys, we’re going to hold them out and see if we can get a little bit more medical clarification on what direction we’ll go with them,” Frazier said. “Hopefully some of them will be able to get some work in (Tuesday) prior to the game on Thursday.”
Cook is expected to practice Tuesday, but it remains to be seen how many of the injured players will be able to play Thursday against the Washington Redskins.
“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Frazier said. “Some will, some won’t, probably.”
Frazier said the Vikings have been bringing in players for workouts on a weekly basis.
“We have a ready list of potential candidates. You never know from season to season how you’re going to get hit with injuries,” Frazier said. “Last year we were fortunate we didn’t get hit as much like we have this season, but there’s always a ready list.”
“… Now you start to bring in guys that really don’t have the familiarity with offense, defense and what you do on special teams so now you have to get them up to speed depending on how severe the injuries are.”
S Harrison Smith, who is on injured reserve/designated to return and eligible to return for the final three games of the season, has the walking boot off and has been doing work in the pool as he progresses back from his turf toe injury.
Smith said surgery, which would end his season, is looking less likely and he is hoping to play again this season. He will start testing the toe with work on land Tuesday.
OFFICIAL INJURY REPORT
Neither the Vikings nor the Washington Redskins practiced Monday, but they are required to issue injury reports as estimates of who would have practiced if they did.
For the Vikings, S Jamarca Sanford (groin), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), T Phil Loadholt (concussion), G Charlie Johnson (elbow), DT Letroy Guion (chest/knee), DT Fred Evans (knee), TE Rhett Ellison (ankle) and RB Matt Asiata (shoulder) wouldn’t have practiced. Asiata was also attending his father’s funeral Monday.
CB Chris Cook (hip), CB Xavier Rhodes (shoulder) and CB Josh Robinson (chest) would have been limited, and LB Chad Greenway (wrist) would have been a full participant.
For the Redskins, LB London Fletcher (knee), S Jose Gumbs (ankle), WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) and RB Chris Thompson (shoulder) would have been limited. DE Stephen Bowen (shoulder) and TE Logan Paulsen (knee) would have been full participants.
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.