The Vikings return from a late-season bye week relatively healthy on the active roster.
Receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) and cornerback Akayleb Evans (calf) were full participants Wednesday. They remain on track to return in Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Four players dealing with injuries before the bye — tight end T.J. Hockenson (ribs), linebacker Brian Asamoah II (ankle), and quarterbacks Nick Mullens (back) and Jaren Hall (concussion) — were removed from Wednesday's injury report. That doesn't mean they're fully recovered, but they're at treatment levels that don't require reporting.
That is the case with Mullens, whose injured lower back has been a problem since October. While Mullens will continue to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Joshua Dobbs, head coach Kevin O'Connell said Wednesday that Mullens' injury remained a factor in choosing to keep Dobbs as the starter.
"You have to take that into account with what [Mullens'] season has been like and trying to give him the maximum time to recover," O'Connell said.
Safety Theo Jackson (illness) was the only player sidelined Wednesday. Running back Kene Nwangwu (concussion) and cornerback NaJee Thompson (knee) were limited.
Evans, who missed the past two games because of a right calf strain, is expected to continue his promising second NFL season Sunday.
"I thought he was playing well," coordinator Brian Flores said Tuesday. "He was playing physical; tough, tackling well, doing a good job in coverage. Another young player that's kind of growing week to week."
'Ready to answer all questions'
Safety Josh Metellus said Vikings players need to approach these final five games like the playoffs, because he wants to be like his alma mater Michigan and get into the actual postseason. The Wolverines (13-0) are the Big Ten champions and No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff. They earned a Jan. 1 semifinal matchup against No. 4 seed Alabama.
"Number one team in the country, baby," said Metellus, who started 38 games at Michigan. "I'm ready to answer all questions about that. I think toe to toe we played the best football all year, and it's showing as the number one team in the country. I expect it on New Year's [Day], too."
Metellus pointed toward the locker of linebacker Jordan Hicks, an alumnus of No. 3 seed Texas, while calling out the other semifinal participants in Texas and No. 2 seed Washington, where cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. played.
"We'll be waiting to see each other," Metellus said of Hicks. "He has to deal with Murph first."
There wasn't a glaring issue in Ryan Wright's 26-yard punt in the fourth quarter of the Nov. 27 loss to the Bears, according to special teams coordinator Matt Daniels. But Wright shanked a kick that gave the Bears a reasonable starting field position, their own 22-yard line, when the Vikings had a chance to pin them deep. The Bears ended the drive with a 30-yard field goal in the Vikings' 12-10 loss.
"We harp on it a lot on guys needing to be at their best when their best is required, regardless of what the situation might be, whether it might be at its highest pressure," Daniels said. "We went back and looked at it, everything kind of checked out good, felt good off the foot. It was a good drop. Maybe hit it a little too directional going left, but he was overall pleased with the process. Just didn't get the result there."
The Raiders are also coming off a bye week. Interim head coach Antonio Pierce, who is 2-2 in four games since taking over for the fired Josh McDaniels, said they emerged intending to play better after halftime. Las Vegas averages less than a touchdown — 6.5 points — in the second half this season, a league-worst mark tied with New England. The Vikings' eighth-ranked scoring defense has been more vulnerable after halftime.
"We know we come out the gates like bulls," Pierce told Las Vegas reporters. "But we need to do that in the second half as well."
* The Raiders promoted former Vikings edge rusher Janarius Robinson, a 2021 fourth-round pick, to their active roster ahead of Sunday. Robinson, who has trained with Danielle Hunter in the offseason, was on Las Vegas' practice squad since Aug. 31.