Terence Newman and Anthony Harris will be your starting safeties tonight. And top pick Trae Waynes will make his first NFL start.
The Vikings ruled out their two starting safeties, Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo, yesterday. And on Tuesday, they put backup safety Antone Exum on injured reserve, ending his season.
Robert Blanton is active tonight despite being listed as questionable heading into the game due to a knee injury, but he will not start.
Harris, who wasn’t even on the active roster until Tuesday, will start in his NFL debut. The rookie free agent from Virginia had been on the practice squad all season after getting cut at the end of the preseason.
Newman, who played one snap at safety after Smith and Blanton got hurt in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, will start for Smith at free safety. Waynes will take over for him at left cornerback.
Shaun Prater, whom the Vikings brought back Tuesday, will back them up.
The Vikings, of course, will also be without outside linebacker Anthony Barr and nose tackle Linval Joseph, who were also ruled out yesterday. They also scratched quarterback Taylor Heinicke, outside linebacker Brandon Watts and center Nick Easton.
Here is some pregame reading to keep you busy until the 7:25 kickoff:
— The Vikings picked a bad week to be shorthanded on defense. The Cardinals, led by quarterback Carson Palmer, have the NFL’s top offense.
— I think the Vikings are going to lose by two touchdowns tonight.
— But hey, Jim Souhan says a loss tonight wouldn’t be devastating.