Sunday’s border battle between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers is quickly turning into a war of attrition.
Sam Bradford, Stefon Diggs and Nick Easton were absent for the third consecutive practice, putting their status for Sunday in serious doubt. While Bradford’s absence was expected after the quarterback reaggravated his knee in Monday night’s game, the loss of Diggs (groin) takes a valuable playmaker away from backup quarterback Case Keenum.
Easton (calf) would become the first Vikings offensive lineman to miss a start this season. He’ll likely be replaced at left guard by Jeremiah Sirles.
On a positive note, safety Andrew Sendejo (groin) returned to practice after missing two straight days.
While the Vikings appear to be down three offensive starters, the Packers are hurting defensively. Starting safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) and cornerback Kevin King (concussion) missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. Green Bay’s linebacker depth will also be tested with injuries to Joe Thomas (ankle) and Ahmad Brooks (back) that have prevented them from practicing.
It’s unknown at the moment whether Green Bay tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga will play. Both have been limited in practice. If they do, the Packers offense will be mostly intact with the apparent return of running back Ty Montgomery. On the flip side, Minnesota’s defense should also be close to 100 percent heading into the game.
Bottom line — Both teams’ strongest unit should be at or close to full strength, which will make for an entertaining battle: Aaron Rodgers’ mastery versus Mike Zimmer’s defense.