The Vikings will be without starting defensive end Everson Griffen today.
Griffen, who leads the Vikings with three sacks, is inactive because of an illness, according to the team. That will leave the Vikings with just three defensive ends: Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter and Scott Crichton.
Griffen has 15 sacks in 20 games under coach Mike Zimmer. Needless to say, being without the services of their best pass rusher is a setback.
Hunter, a rookie, is expected to replace Griffen at right defensive end and make his first career start. He was a third-round draft pick this spring.
The Vikings will also be without starting wide receiver Charles Johnson. Johnson practiced on a limited basis all three days leading up to today’s game against the Chiefs. And Zimmer said Thursday he was assuming that Johnson would play despite the rib injury. But he is not suiting up.
Fellow wide receivers Mike Wallace and Jarius Wright are active.
Rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs could replace Johnson at split end. For more on the fifth-round pick, you should read Mark Craig’s story on him.
Also inactive are quarterback Taylor Heinicke, cornerback Jabari Price, center Nick Easton, tight end Chase Ford and defensive end Justin Trattou.
The Chiefs will be without a trio of defensive starters with nose tackle Dontari Poe, safety Ron Parker and inside linebacker Josh Mauga inactive.
Here is some pregame reading to keep you preoccupied until kickoff:
— Andrew Sendejo is active, but today could be the day the Vikings finally give Antone Exum a chance to stabilize the shaky strong safety spot.
— Tight end Kyle Rudolph hasn’t been used as a blocker this much since 2012. That has played a role in his underwhelming statistical start.
— Jim Souhan says the Vikings need to beat the Chiefs then their next four opponents to have a chance at catching the Packers in the NFC North.
— I think the Vikings, even without Griffen, will cruise to a victory today.