One benefit of the Vikings hosting the New York Giants on Monday night is that it gave their players, particularly left guard Alex Boone, an extra day of rest and recovery.
“That was huge,” Boone said Saturday. “I feel great. Everything feels good.”
So good that the Vikings did not even bother listing him as questionable on the week’s final injury report. Boone was not given a game-day availability designation for Monday night, meaning that he is available to play and expected to start at left guard.
Boone suffered a hip injury in the 22-10 win over the Carolina Panthers last week and was carted to the locker room for further examination. He returned to the sideline in the second half but was not cleared to play. After missing practice Thursday, Boone was a limited participant Friday before practicing without restrictions Saturday morning.
If Boone were to experience a setback before Monday night, Jeremiah Sirles likely would replace him in the starting lineup. He subbed in for Boone against the Panthers.
“I thought Jeremiah did a great job stepping in,” Boone said. “I’m proud of him.”
Fullback Zach Line, who is dealing with a knee injury, also got in a second straight practice and was given no game-day status, so he will play Monday night.
David Morgan, who injured a knee against the Panthers, missed all three practices this week and was officially ruled out Saturday. But the good news is that fellow tight end MyCole Pruitt is ready to roll after missing the first three games because of a knee injury.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd also was ruled out, which was not a surprise. After undergoing knee surgery last week, he won’t be back until after the Week 6 bye.
Rookie safety Jayron Kearse also was sidelined Saturday. The Vikings listed his injury, a new one, as “tooth” on the report. But he will be available to play Monday night.
Giants’ D-backs hurting
The Giants ruled out safeties Darian Thompson and Nat Berhe. Rookie cornerback Eli Apple, their first-round pick, is doubtful to play Monday night. Fellow corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is officially questionable but he did not practice at all this week.
Because they were so shorthanded in the secondary this week, the Giants reportedly had to have some offensive skill position players play defense in practice.
Coach Mike Zimmer can relate. Remember how banged up they were last December?
“Arizona last year, we had receivers playing DB [in practice],” he said. “It happens.”
The Giants also ruled out tackle Marshall Newhouse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas and listed starting running back Rashad Jennings as questionable.
Manning hitting targets
The Vikings pass defense will face another challenge this week in veteran New York quarterback Eli Manning, the triggerman on the NFL’s fifth-ranked passing attack.
With Manning often getting rid of the ball quickly to a talented trio of wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepherd, the Giants are averaging 8.6 yards per pass attempt, second in the league to only Atlanta.
“These guys can all run,” Zimmer said. “Shepard in the slot is very, very dangerous. They’ve got a lot of double moves with him. Obviously Beckham has got a lot of double moves, [and] he’s quick and great running after the catch. Cruz, too. Cruz made a big catch against New Orleans [in Week 2] to [set up a game-winning field goal] there at the end. All those guys are really stop-and-start guys but they all have deep speed.”