EAGAN, Minn. — Short week of preparation, short-handed on game day.
The Minnesota Vikings on Thursday ruled out five players — TE Kyle Rudolph, RB Alexander Mattison, LBs Eric Kendricks and Troy Dye and DE Jalyn Holmes — ahead of Friday's game at the New Orleans Saints.
Rudolph (foot) will miss his third consecutive game, and Kendricks (calf) will be sidelined a fourth week in a row. Mattison suffered a concussion, and Holmes suffered a groin injury last week. Dye suffered a concussion and a hamstring injury in Week 15.
Minnesota listed linebacker Todd Davis (ribs) as doubtful.
Fullback C.J. Ham (quadriceps) and defensive tackle Armon Watts (ankle) are listed as questionable.
The other players on the Vikings injury report this week — DT Hercules Mata'afa (low back), DT Jaleel Johnson (knee), DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (ankle) and CB Cameron Dantzler (foot) — did not receive a designation and are expected to be available.
That's quite a depletion for a Vikings defense that has been without DE Danielle Hunter all season because of a neck injury suffered when training camp opened and LB Anthony Barr since he tore his pec in Week 2.
"It's the first time in my career that I've been involved with this many injuries on one side of the ball," Vikings Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson said Wednesday. "I've been on teams where you've had it with your offense and defense and special teams, but to see it on one side of the ball throughout the course of the season — earlier it was the secondary, then it became the backers, now it's the d-line and the backers, so it's been different."
Co-Defensive Coordinator Adam Zimmer followed by saying the situation reminded him slightly of Minnesota's 2015 Thursday Night Football game at Arizona.
"We only had four linebackers active, and [cornerback] Terence Newman was playing safety. We were without five defensive starters but we went in there, battled and had a great chance to win at the end of the game," Zimmer said. "I look back to that game and it's one I can bring up to the guys and say, 'Hey, we're still going to go out there and expect to play good defense. We've done it in the past in these situations.' "
Head Coach Mike Zimmer said his messaging this week is that young guys are likely to make mistakes but to make them "full-speed."
"When I yell at them, 'Don't go in a shell.' Because that's what I do," Zimmer said Wednesday. " 'So let it just go off your back and go on to the next play. Play hard and play fast.' "
|Hercules Mata'afa||DL||Low Back||LP||LP||FP||-|
Thursday's Saints Injury Report: New Orleans on Thursday ruled out WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle), S Marcus Williams (ankle) and G Nick Easton (concussion), a former Viking.
The Saints also listed G Andrus Peat (ankle), DT Malcom Brown (calf) and DE Trey Hendrickson (neck) as questionable.
DE Carl Granderson (neck) did not receive a designation and is expected to be available.
View photos of the Vikings preparing to take on the Saints for Week 16 during practice at TCO Performance Center.
DNP - Did not participate in practice
LP - Limited participation in practice
FP - Full participation
(-) - Not listed