For more than a dozen Vikings, this isn’t turning out to be the most wonderful time of year.
After making it through 11 games without anyone going on injured reserve, the Vikings not only lost starting middle linebacker E.J. Henderson for the rest of the season with a fractured left femur, but injuries to other players could limit their options on Sunday.
Altogether, the Vikings have 13 players on their injury report issued Wednesday, most of them starters.
“We’re in the fourth quarter of this schedule. It’s December. So you’ve got all those things going,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said. “Wednesdays are a tough day in general coming back from a game and a long trip. I don’t see any lingering effects.”
On offense, right tackle Phil Loadholt could have a dislocated shoulder, according to quarterback Brett Favre, causing him to sit out of practice on Wednesday. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie was limited with an ankle injury. Both of them missed time during the first half of Sunday night’s loss but returned to action. They were each limited in practice Wednesday.
Guard Anthony Herrera returned to practice after missing two games with a concussion, but he was also limited, as was Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson, who is now dealing with a shoulder injury. That means four of the five starters on the offensive line are trying to fight through injuries.
Running back Adrian Peterson missed practice with ankle and foot injuries, and rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin wasn’t at practice because of illness. Harvin has dealt with migraine headaches season, but so far that hasn’t caused him to miss any games.
In addition, receiver Bernard Berrian (hamstring) and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (ribs) were limited in practice.
On defense, safety Tyrell Johnson (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday. Three cornerbacks – Antoine Winfield (foot), Cedric Griffin (neck) and Karl Paymah (knee) – were limited. Nose tackle Pat Williams (foot) was also held out of parts of practice.
Before practice, Childress downplayed the number of injuries.
“That’s typical every week, where you’re moving people in, moving people out, giving them this look, letting them stand this time, don’t take this period,” he said.
The Vikings made a series of moves to accommodate the potential lack of depth. Primary among them was placing E.J. Henderson on injured reserve and promoting tight end Garrett Mills from the practice squad to the active roster.
“I just kept putting in my time. Obviously some things happened and we just had to make some roster moves,” Mills said. “It’s good to be back on the squad.”
Mills’ promotion might be protection if Shiancoe is unable to play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Vikings also signed offensive tackle Drew Radovich and linebacker J. Leman to the practice squad. With the injury issues to Loadholt and McKinnie on Sunday, the Vikings would have the option to promote Radovich to the active roster later this week if needed.
So far, Winfield has missed the most time of any injured player this year. He has been inactive the last six games with his foot injury. After Childress talked briefly about Winfield on Tuesday with Sirius NFL Radio, the coach wasn’t any clearer on Wednesday whether he thought Winfield would be able to play this week.
“I said, ‘This week he’d be closer. He was close last week, this week he’ll be closer and if we go to the following week he’ll be closest,’” Childress said Wednesday.
“He can’t go ‘til he has all the things he needs to go. You’ve got to be able to play at a high level out there. It’s not like you can hide or half-step it,” he said.
Henderson was on his way to Minnesota on Wednesday after having surgery to repair his fractured femur in Arizona. “He’s a man of few words, but he’s in good spirits by all indications,” Childress said.
The Bengals placed TE Chase Coffman on IR while DT Domata Peko (knee) and HB Bernard Scott (foot) have been declared out. S Chris Crocker (ankle) and former Vikings S Kyries Hebert (knee), along with CB Morgan Trent (knee), did not practice for the Bengals on Wednesday.
Radovich and Leman have both spent time with the Vikings in the past two years. Leman spent the 2008 offseason with the Vikings and spent time with Philadelphia, Carolina and San Diego this year. Radovich spent time on both the Vikings’ practice squad and active roster last year.
Former Vikings LB Robert Francois was signed to Green Bay's practice squad. Francois was an undrafted rookie with the Vikings this offseason and also spent time this summer with the Detroit Lions.