LANDOVER, MD. – The reeling Vikings have lost yet another offensive tackle.
Jake Long, who signed with the Vikings last month and has started the past three games at left tackle, was carted off near the end of Sunday’s 26-20 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Coach Mike Zimmer later indicated that Long had suffered an injury to his left Achilles’ tendon that will likely end his season.
It could also be a career-ender for the 31-year-old Long, the 2008 No. 1 overall pick whose career has been derailed by injuries, including a pair of tears of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Before he joined the Vikings, the Baltimore Ravens, concerned about the condition of that knee, passed on signing Long because he declined to sign an injury waiver.
“We were in St. Louis together and obviously both went through some injuries there, and I know how difficult that is,” said quarterback Sam Bradford, who with the Rams twice had to get an ACL reconstructed. “Obviously he was excited just to be back playing and starting. For him to get injured today, obviously it’s really tough.”
If his Achilles’ injury is indeed season-ending, Long will be the third Vikings tackle to go on injured reserve this season, joining Matt Kalil and Andre Smith.
Long was replaced Sunday by Jeremiah Sirles, who immediately got beaten by Redskins linebacker Preston Smith for a game-sealing sack on fourth down.
“When I get a chance to get out there, I have to be able to go out there and do it. … I feel like I let the team down,” said Sirles, the fifth Vikings lineman to play left tackle this season. “He just beat me around the edge.”
Veteran left guard Alex Boone said he planned to chat with offensive line coach Tony Sparano on Sunday night or Monday morning about the possibility of sliding over to left tackle if needed. Boone played the position in college at Ohio State.
Asked when he last played there, Boone replied: “Who cares? I’m ready to roll.”
Diggs right at home
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught 13 passes for 164 yards Sunday, including a 36-yarder in the second quarter, in his first professional game in his home state.
Afterward, Diggs, who has the local area code of 301 and the words “Only The Family” tattooed on his right shoulder, got emotional talking about the experience.
“It was exciting,” said Diggs, who played in college up the road at Maryland. “The biggest part of it was that I was around my family. It hurt to come home and lose.”
It was the second consecutive game with 13 catches for the 2015 fifth-round pick.
“Similar to last week, I thought Diggs did a great job just finding the soft spots in the zone [coverage],” Bradford said. “When he was presented with man coverage, he did a great job of just creating separation and making plays against that, too.”
Walsh misses another PAT
Five days after the Vikings auditioned six potential replacements at Winter Park, struggling kicker Blair Walsh missed one of his three extra-point attempts Sunday.
Asked what more he can say to Walsh after misses, Zimmer replied, “I don’t know.”
He added: “Honestly, I didn’t even see the kick so I don’t know what happened.”
Walsh missed wide right, his fourth missed point-after this season.
The Vikings lost a pair of starting defenders to friendly fire.
Eric Kendricks injured his left hip during a first-quarter collision with fellow linebacker Anthony Barr. Both sat out one play, a Redskins touchdown, before returning on the next drive. Kendricks, however, played only a couple more snaps before he was removed for good.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter after drilling linebacker Audie Cole, who replaced Kendricks in the base defense, with his helmet. Rhodes also suffered a concussion in a collision with a teammate last season.
• Cornerback Terence Newman replaced Captain Munnerlyn, who did not play because of an ankle injury, in the slot when the Vikings used their nickel package. Rhodes and Trae Waynes were the two outside cornerbacks before Rhodes got hurt.
• Also inactive for the Vikings were cornerback and top punt returner Marcus Sherels, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, guards Willie Beavers and Zac Kerin, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
• Nose tackle Linval Joseph suited up and forced a fumble in the second quarter.