The Vikings will definitely be without rookie running back Jerick McKinnon on Sunday, and it looks as if they will be without rookie outside linebacker Anthony Barr as well.
Barr, who was getting Rookie of the Year buzz earlier this season, is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Jets after sitting out practice all week due to a knee injury.
Head coach Mike Zimmer indicated that Gerald Hodges will start in Barr’s place if he can’t go.
“I think he’s been doing a good job,” Zimmer said of the second-year linebacker. “He came in last week some when Anthony went out. He continues to study hard and practice hard and he has a good attitude. He’s a good fast-twitch athlete that has some strength to him.”
Hodges started three games earlier this season at Chad Greenway’s weak-side linebacker spot. Moving over to the strong-spot will require an adjustment, but not a major one, Zimmer said.
“The one thing with linebackers in this league, if you’re a backup linebacker, you have to be able to play all the positions because of what happens on game day,” Zimmer said. “You might have five linebackers. You might have six. And if something happens you’ve got to be prepared to go in at different positions. They’re all similar, but there are differences.”
McKinnon, meanwhile, has been officially ruled out. He will miss his second straight game with a lower back injury. With McKinnon watching, Zimmer said we will likely see all three running backs — Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard and Ben Tate — against the Jets, so fantasy football players, take note.
Rookie cornerback Jabari Price (hamstring), like Barr, is listed as doubtful.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and the three tight ends are all probable.
On the flip side, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and tight end Jace Amaro are out for the Jets.