As if the Vikings didn’t already have enough on their plate this Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the visiting Packers, they’ll have to defend the vaunted Green Bay attack without two of theirs starters. On Friday, coach Mike Zimmer ruled out defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes for the contest with the NFC North rival, per Ben Goessling for ESPN.com.
Neither Floyd nor Rhodes was able to practice all week because of knee injuries. Rhodes was also out Week 1, while Floyd was hurt in the opener.
Minnesota’s defense was able to help carry the offense to a victory last Sunday, finding the end zone twice against the Titans while the offense failed to put together a touchdown drive. With either quarterback Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford getting the start, neither being a spectacular option, the Vikings may be relying on similar contributions all season long to keep their playoff hopes alive.
That goes double against a high-powered offense like Green Bay. Obviously, the secondary depth will be tested without Rhodes, as Trae Waynes and Captain Munnerlyn will see increased roles. Without Floyd’s consistent pressure up the middle on Rodgers, however, it may not matter much who’s at cornerback covering the likes of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Then again, injuries to Floyd are nothing new, something Zimmer seems to be annoyed with. When asked about the absence, the head coach responded, “I’m kind of used to it.”
At least the Vikings should have a 12th man on the field in a sense, as the team gets set to open U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. Expect a loud, enthusiastic environment to give the defense a boost, which would be a good thing, because the unit may need all the help it can get.