Cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who played 541 snaps defending the slot for the Vikings this season, is officially inactive for Sunday’s NFC wild-card game against the Saints in New Orleans.
Alexander played 50 snaps in the Vikings’ regular season finale against the Bears, which had no playoff implications, despite dealing with the knee injury that will keep him sidelined Sunday.
Safety Jayron Kearse is among the remaining options in the slot for head coach Mike Zimmer, who only said “we’ll find a way” when asked Friday how they’ll manage losing Alexander and Mike Hughes (neck) — placed on injured reserve this week.
Marcus Sherels, re-signed on Friday, will return punts in his 128th game for the Vikings (fifth in the playoffs).
Defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, listed questionable due to a hamstring injury, is active and will play against the Saints. Two players dealing with an illness this week, defensive end Stephen Weatherly and safety Andrew Sendejo, are also both active and will play.
Laquon Treadwell, initially released after the preseason only to be re-signed due to injuries at receiver, is a healthy scratch. The Vikings offense will rely on four receivers against the Saints in Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Bisi Johnson and Alexander Hollins.
The Saints will be without cornerback Eli Apple (ankle) and fullback Zach Line (knee).
Vikings’ inactives: Alexander (knee), OT Oli Udoh, G Dru Samia, DT Hercules Mata’afa, OT Aviante Collins, WR Laquon Treadwell and DE Eddie Yarbrough
Saints’ inactives: CB Eli Apple (ankle), FB Zach Line (knee), S D.J. Swearinger, OL Ethan Greenidge, DE Noah Spence, LB Manti Te’o and C Will Clapp