With Eric Kendricks, Troy Dye and Todd Davis all missing another day of practice on Wednesday, the Vikings could head into Friday's game against the Saints especially thin at linebacker.
Eric Wilson was the only linebacker who has played more than 100 snaps for the Vikings this season to practice this week. Davis missed his second day of practice this week with a rib injury, while a concussion and hamstring injury have kept Dye out the past two days. Kendricks has been out since aggravating a calf injury before the Panthers game on Nov. 29.
The Vikings will issue their final injury report of the week on Thursday. If none of their injured linebackers can play Friday, Wilson could be joined by Hardy Nickerson, Blake Lynch or Ryan Connelly in New Orleans.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot), running back Alexander Mattison (concussion) and defensive end Jalyn Holmes (groin) missed a second day of practice Wednesday. Fullback C.J. Ham also hasn't practiced this week because of a quadriceps injury he sustained against the Buccaneers on Dec. 13, though he played through the injury Sunday against the Bears. Defensive tackle Armon Watts (ankle) returned to practice in a limited capacity after sitting out Tuesday.
Wilson positioned well as free agent
Wilson said he's "not really thinking" about his upcoming unrestricted free agency, but the fourth-year linebacker has positioned himself well for the open market, playing every defensive snap with the in-helmet mic to relay defensive play calls since Anthony Barr went down in Week 2.
"I've showed versatility," Wilson said. "Just playing different positions and being able to compete in any opportunity and circumstance that might be, and just being a leader out there. Being able to lead guys and make sure we're all on the same page and just communicating with them. I think that's a big part of what I've done this year."
The ties between Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and Saints coach Sean Payton extend through their families, including Adam Zimmer, Mike's son and the Vikings' co-defensive coordinator, getting hired onto Payton's staff as the Saints assistant linebackers coach from 2006-09 to springboard his professional coaching career.
"That's where I got my feet wet in the NFL," Adam Zimmer said. "Other than hanging out with my dad, this was my first real experience learning the ins and outs of an NFL day-to-day operation. I'm really thankful for those days."
Maalouf: 'Not much to say' about Bailey
What a difference a week makes. After Dan Bailey made all five of his kicks against the Bears on Sunday, there hasn't been a question about the veteran's job status after he kicked his way out of a career-worst slump. While the Vikings added kicker Taylor Bertolet to the practice squad last weekend, it was merely to have a backup amid the pandemic.
"The same levelheaded guy that we've had," special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf said of Bailey. "Just out there doing his work. There's really not much to say about that. He continues to work hard."