The Vikings’ lineup for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Bears could look markedly different from the one they’d use for a game with more on the line. They’ve already ruled out a pair of starters, with more potentially to be deactivated on Sunday.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks will miss the game after sitting out his third day of practice this week because of the quadriceps injury he suffered Monday night against the Packers. Running back Dalvin Cook will also sit out because of the chest and shoulder injuries that kept him out of Monday night’s loss.
The Vikings listed running back Alexander Mattison (ankle) and safety Jayron Kearse (foot) as questionable. They gave the same designation to cornerback Mackensie Alexander after he showed up on the injury report for the first time this week with a knee injury that limited him in Friday’s practice.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen were both full participants on Friday, despite being listed on the injury report with ankle and knee injuries, respectively.
Neither was given an injury designation for Sunday’s game, but the Vikings could limit or rest plenty of starters for a game that will not affect their playoff positioning.
“We’re trying to be smart with them, but you don’t have the full complement [of players you would have when resting starters in the preseason],” coach Mike Zimmer said. “You know, when the score’s up on the board, it matters. All those things are considerations.”
Harris chosen winner of Stringer Award
Safety Anthony Harris was named the 2019 recipient of the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award, given annually by the Minnesota chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America in honor of the late Vikings offensive lineman to the player who best exemplifies cooperation and professionalism with the local media.
He is the 16th different player to win the award, now in its 19th season; former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, linebacker Ben Leber and defensive back Captain Munnerlyn were two-time winners.
“Every memory I’ve gotten from talking to people who knew [Stringer], that’s the one thing they speak about first — not just his performance on the field but who he was as an individual,” Harris said. “So I try to pride myself in being a good player but showing the people who I am as a person. With the platform the media allows, it gives me an opportunity to use my voice in a positive way.”
Harris, who is tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions this year, is in his first season as a full-time starter after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015.
“It’s been a long journey, but I look at it as a continuous thing,” he said. “It’s not like, ‘Now I’m here, now I’ve arrived.’ It’s going to be a continued process for me. From the time on the practice squad, to a 53-[man roster] active guy, to chasing my dream to be a starter, to chasing my dream to being one of the best players in the league, it’s a continued battle every day, and it’s been a lot of fun trying to do that.”
While cornerback Mike Hughes has gone through some growing pains in his first full NFL season, the 2018 first-round pick is still learning at the pro level after playing only one year of major college football and tearing his ACL six games into his rookie season.
His approach to the position, Zimmer said, continues to give Hughes chances to improve.
“He is a very conscientious kid. For him to miss that time, obviously, was big; OTAs as well,” Zimmer said. “He asks a lot of questions. He wants to be really detailed about his work and he continues to be that way each and every day. I feel like he is feeling much better with it.”