The Vikings secondary will be without two of its top four cornerbacks during Sunday’s NFC wild-card game in New Orleans.

Cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who played 50 snaps through a knee injury during the Vikings’ meaningless season finale against the Bears, was unable to practice this week and has been ruled out.

Head coach Mike Zimmer deflected a question to the training staff, which is not made available to reporters, when asked to elaborate on Alexander’s injury. Alexander watched the start of Friday’s practice from the sideline.

More bad news for the Vikings secondary is cornerback Mike Hughes was placed on injured reserve Friday due to a neck injury.

Hughes, who played 28 snaps against the Bears, had practiced fully Wednesday before he was downgraded to limited on Thursday and sidelined Friday.  Zimmer did not provide any clarity on Hughes’ injury when asked what happened during Thursday’s practice.

“Playing football,” Zimmer cited as the source of Hughes’ injury.

The good news is defensive end Stephen Weatherly (illness) and safety Andrew Sendejo (illness) returned to practice Friday.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks, named to his first All-Pro team on Friday, was also practicing and appears likely to play against the Saints. Running backs Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) have been full participants this week and are also expected to play.

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