The Vikings will almost certainly be without linebacker E.J. Henderson Monday night, but it could be much longer than that. His dislocated toes could cost him a month of action.
The news just keeps getting worse concerning Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson
. Not only is he going to miss Monday night's game, but the prognosis on the two dislocated toes on his left foot could sideline him for a month or more, according to a report by the Star Tribune.
Henderson is listed as questionable on the Vikings injury report, but has been unable to practice this week and has been wearing a walking boot. Henderson was injured in the second quarter of last Sunday's game with Tennessee. He returned in the second half briefly, but had to leave again in the second half.
The full extent of the damage won't be known until the swelling around the toes goes down, which has yet to happen. Surgery hasn't been ruled out as a potential option, which would sideline Henderson for an extended period of time.
Henderson was the Vikings leading tackler last year with 155 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He was leading the Vikings with 31 tackles through the first three games. With Henderson out for Monday, backup David Herron
will get the start Monday night at middle linebacker.
Ben Leber is expected to wear the defensive radio helmet that signals in plays from the sidelines. Henderson typically wore that helmet, but the combination of Herron having limited experience and the Saints anticipated to play a lot of three-receiver sets will have the Vikings nickel defense on the field more than usual. When that happens, one linebacker is replaced by an extra cornerback. For that reason, Ben Leber, who wore the radio helmet during last week's game when Henderson went down, is expected to wear the helmet again Monday.
Bernard Berrian was added to the injury report Friday and is listed as questionable with a knee injury. Berrian, who has battled a toe injury throughout the preseason and regular season, wasn't on the injury report until Friday and hasn't had any injury history with his knee this season, prompting some to speculate that he was injured during Thursday's practice. He was unable to run at full speed during individual drills early in Friday's practice during the portion of the practice that was open to the media.
The coaching staff has given Bryant McKinnie positive feedback on being in shape and ready to play Monday after sitting out four games due to a league-imposed suspension. McKinnie is expected to start against the Saints.
Saints first-round draft pick Sedrick Ellis is going to miss Monday's game after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee Friday to repair a torn meniscus. The Saints will have only three healthy defensive tackles on their roster Monday.
Aside from Ellis, the Saints will also be without WR Marques Colston, TE Jeremy Shockey, WR David Patten and CB Aaron Glenn – all of whom are sidelined with injuries and already ruled as being out for Monday's game.
The Vikings have five players listed as questionable on the injury report, including TE Jim Kleinsasser (foot), WR Sidney Rice (knee), CB Benny Sapp (hamstring), WR Bernard Berrian (knee) and OT Drew Radovich (shoulder). Kleinsasser hasn't practiced at all the last two days.
Madieu Williams will miss his fifth straight regular season game with a neck injury. Williams was injured early in training camp and hasn't played since.
Two other players – DE Ray Edwards (shoulder) and LB Vinny Ciurciu (knee) – are both listed as probable. Both Edwards and Ciurciu missed last week's game
Despite objections from the Vikings, Kyle Vanden Bosch was not fined for a hit on Gus Frerotte in which he hit the Vikings QB below the belt with the crown of his helmet. After the game, Frerotte called the hit a cheap shot, but the league ruled that, in its mind, the hit wasn't intentionally malicious.
The Vikings remain just one game behind the Green Bay Packers, who may be without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers Sunday. Rodgers has a sprained left (non-throwing) shoulder and has been very limited in practice this week. The Packers have two rookies behind Rodgers on the 53-man roster.