Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.
Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.
Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.
Hello from the Metrodome for the final time. The Vikings will close down the Dome today against the Lions and two of the best players in the NFL won't be on the field.
Adrian Peterson was declared out on Saturday because of groin and foot injuries. The Lions made wide receiver Calvin Johnson inactive because of a knee injury. Johnson was listed as questionable after missing practice all week.
The Vikings also will be without Peterson's backup, Toby Gerhart, who was declared out because of a hamstring injury. Matt Asiata will make his second career start in their absence.
No real surprises in the Vikings other inactives: quarterback Josh Freeman, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, offensive tackle Mike Remmers, wide receiver Rodney Smith and defensive tackle Letroy Guion.
Rhodes was listed as questionable because of an ankle sprain.
Adrian Peterson admitted he wasn't happy when Vikings coach Leslie Frazier informed him last week that he would be inactive against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Peterson was listed as questionable because of a foot sprain, but he felt healthy enough to play.
"Man, words can’t even express it," Peterson said. "I was hot. I was devastated. I was looking forward to play and being out there with the guys. I didn’t get my way that day."
Peterson officially is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Cincinnati, but he expects to play. Peterson did some work in Friday's practice and said his foot is making progress.
"I’m looking forward to playing this week," he said. "Get another day to rest [Saturday] which is going to be good. I’ll be ready to roll."
Rookie Xavier Rhodes (ankle) is the only player that Frazier declared as out on the final injuiry report. Tight end John Carlson is listed as doubtful after experiencing concussion symptoms on Thursday after returning to practice a day earlier. Frazier raised the possibility that Carlson might not play the final two games because of his concussion history.
Running back Matt Asiata (ankle) also is listed as questionable.
The only Vikings to miss today's practice at Winter Park were cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who missed the Eagles victory because of a sprained ankle; and tailback Matt Asiata, who sprained an ankle carrying the ball 30 times in relief of Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart.
Peterson and Gerhart returned to practice, although they were limited. Also back were Chris Cook, John Carlson and Brandon Fusco, who missed the Eagles game.
The Bengals put punter Kevin Huber, who was lit up illegally on a punt return Sunday, on injured reserve. Watch the injury here, if you have the stomach for it.
Here's today's injury report for the Vikings and Bengals, who meet on Sunday.
VIKINGS-BENGALS INJURY REPORT
Vikings: CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and RB Matt Asiata (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. CB Chris Cook (knee), G Brandon Fusco (knee), RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring), RB Adrian Peterson (groin/foot) and S Harrison Smith (toe) were limited. TD John Carlson (concussion), LB Larry Dean (knee), LB Chad Greenway (wrist), LS Cullen Loeffler (hand) and CB Marcus Sherels (shoulder) were full participants.
Bengals: P Kevin Huber (jaw/neck) was placed on injured reserve. LB James Harrison (concussion), CB Terence Newman (knee) and DE Carlos Dunlap (concussion) did not practice. G Kevin Zeitler (foot) was limited. TD Jermaine Gresham (abdomen) was a full participant.
The Vikings will be without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart today against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field.
Both players were officially declared out with the inactives. Peterson (foot sprain) and Gerhart (hamstring) had been listed as questionable on the final injury report.
The two made some improvement throughout the week, but not enough to risk playing Sunday.
Matt Asiata will start in place of Peterson. Asiata has only three carries in his career, none this season. The Vikings promoted Joe Banyard from the practice squad on Saturday to provide some depth.
On defense, the Vikings will be without their starting cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Chris Cook. Rhodes was listed as doubtful because of the ankle injury. Cook was questionable after being added to the injury report on Friday because of a knee injury.
The Vikings haven't announced lineup changes, but it sounds like Marcus Sherels and Shaun Prater will start with converted safety Robert Blanton remaining in the nickel role.
The other inactives are quarterback Josh Freeman, offensive guard Brandon Fusco (knee) and tight end John Carlson (concussion),
The Vikings activated safety Harrison Smith from the injured reserve/designed for return list on Saturday, clearing the way for him to play Sunday against Philadelphia.
Smith has missed the past eight games will dealing with a turf toe injury. He returned to practice two weeks ago but was not eligible to return until Sunday's game.
The Vikings announced a series of moves Saturday because of their injury situation. The team promoted running back Joe Banyard and cornerback Robert Steeples from their practice squad.
Banyard provides insurance with Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) both listed as questionable. A team source said no decision had been made on their status as of early Saturday afternoon.
Steeples was promoted to the active roster because rookie Xavier Rhodes (ankle) is listed as doubtful and Chris Cook (knee) is questionable. Cook was added to the injury report on Friday.
The Vikings also officially placed cornerback Josh Robinson on injured reserve and waived offensive tackle Mike Remmers,
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