The Vikings running game, the struggles of which have been overlooked as the sacks continue to pile up, will get a boost against the Lions today.
Starting running back Jerick McKinnon is back in the lineup after missing Monday's loss to the Bears with an ankle injury. He is expected to split time with Matt Asiata. Ronnie Hillman could be sprinkled in, too.
McKinnon is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. But he is bound to pop one eventually for a Vikings running attack that has lacked explosive plays.
He will have yet another offensive line combination blocking for him, though. Jeremiah Sirles will start at left guard in place of the injured Alex Boone. It will be the fifth starting quintet for the Vikings this season.
The Vikings will also be without starting middle linebacker Eric Kendricks. Audie Cole will replace him in the base defense and Chad Greenway could replace him in the nickel, though Emmanuel Lamur could have a role.
Safety Andrew Sendejo is active and will start at safety against the Lions.
The Vikings officially ruled out Boone and Kendricks, along with guard Zac Kerin and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, on Friday. Also inactive are wide receiver Jarius Wright and tight ends MyCole Pruitt and David Morgan.
The Lions are without top corner Darius Slay and left tackle Riley Reiff.
Today's game, of course, will be the first with Pat Shurmur calling the plays. Shurmur was named the interim offensive coordinator after Norv Turner's sudden retirement. The offense could look different down the road, but four days probably wasn't enough time for Shurmur to make drastic changes.