A regular talking point for the Vikings on Friday was Detroit’s powerful defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, but there’s a chance the five-time Pro Bowl selection won’t even line up for a play on Sunday.
Ngata had limited participation in practice for a second straight day after missing Wednesday’s workout, but he’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s visit to TCF Bank Stadium. He was injured (shoulder) against San Diego in Week 1, his regular-season debut with the Lions.
“Physical, shifty, good hands, strong,” Vikings guard Mike Harris described Ngata, the Lions replacement for Ndamukong Suh. “I’m excited for the challenge of going up against a great player like Ngata. I know he’s going to bring his A-game, so I know I have to be prepared and ready for a good battle.”
Coach Mike Zimmer had a tough time comparing Suh and Ngata, noting both are strong and athletic. Ngata contributed on three tackles in the Lions’ 33-28 loss to the Chargers.
“Well, Ngata is a big, athletic guy, very similar to Suh. I would hate to say that one is more powerful than the other because they both are and they’re both very, very good athletes. I remember Ngata from his younger days, but he’s a good player.”
The Lions could be without several important pieces for Week 2. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (hip) is the only player of the nine on Detroit’s injury report that is officially ruled out for Sunday, but linebacker DeAndre Levy (hip) is listed as doubtful and defensive tackles Caraun Reid (ankle) and Ngata are questionable.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford (right upper arm), cornerback Darius Slay (ankle), wide receiver Golden Tate (quad), tackle LaAdrian Waddle (elbow) and guard Larry Warford (ankle) are all listed as probable.
The Vikings injury report looked promising after Friday’s practice. Running back Jerick McKinnon (ankle) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) were listed as full participants in Friday’s practice and probable for Sunday’s game.
Another five-time Pro Bowl selection the Lions hope to rely on is wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He only had two receptions for 39 yards in Week 1 and the Vikings secondary is hoping to limit his role yet again.
“If you don’t take care of [Johnson] he can hurt you and if you take care of him they’re going to try to have to get it to someone else,” Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo said. “If you’re going against an offense that has a stud running back or stud receiver you’re going to accommodate for that.
“I’m always excited for the challenge to go against guys like that. … It’s a division game, we face him twice a year, so it’s always a dog fight.”