Cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. will miss his first game as a Vikings starter on Sunday against the Lions due to a knee injury. He was ruled out on Friday after missing practice all week.

The injury-riddled Vikings also listed six other frequent contributors as questionable: right tackle Brian O'Neill (ankle), running back Alexander Mattison (ankle), linebacker Jordan Hicks (shin), linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (shoulder), and defensive tackles Harrison Phillips (back) and Jonathan Bullard (ankle). Receiver Jalen Nailor (concussion) has also been ruled out.

Murphy, who has a team-leading three interceptions, had a significant limp while walking through the locker room on Friday. He said he suffered the knee injury while playing 69 of 70 snaps against the Bengals and declined further comment.

"I think it was early on," head coach Kevin O'Connell said, "and that just goes to show you how tough he is. Battled through it, fought through it. That's one guy where sometimes you look at him and no matter what the injury report says you're expecting him to be out there."

Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, the rookie third-round pick, could see an increased role in a third NFL start. He has already played 39% of the defensive snaps as a part-time player and spot starter. The Lions' potent offense ranks fourth averaging 253.5 passing yards weekly.

"It's been eye-opening," Blackmon said. "You never really know what to expect, but this is the NFL. I'm really excited for this week with this being a big game."

O'Neill, Mattison and Phillips practiced for the first time Friday and were limited. Phillips played through a back injury against the Bengals. O'Neill and Mattison have been sidelined since the Dec. 10 win in Las Vegas because of ankle sprains.

O'Connell didn't sound optimistic about O'Neill's chances of playing Sunday. Right tackle David Quessenberry could make his third start of the year.

"He got some team reps [Friday]," O'Connell said of O'Neill. "It's an incredibly important game, but we got to make sure ... we're looking out for what's in the best interest of the player and making sure we're trying to have these guys available much more than just this weekend."

The Vikings could have their linebacker corps intact once again. Hicks was "flying around," O'Connell said, in a successful return to practice this week following Nov. 12 leg surgery. Pace, the standout rookie, has "shoulder soreness," the coach said, and needed to be limited on Friday.

"He just didn't get his full allotment of reps," O'Connell said. "Feel good about where I.P. is at. Gotta see how he responded to the work [Friday]."

The Lions ruled out four players: safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral), cornerback Jerry Jacobs (hamstring), tight end Brock Wright (hip) and fullback Jason Cabinda (knee). Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes (shoulder) is listed as doubtful to play.

'Finishing games'

The Vikings' sixth-ranked scoring defense has recently been vulnerable against the clock. They've surrendered game-losing scores at the end of games against the Bengals, Bears and Broncos, which has been a focus for defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

"Especially in that end-of-game, two-minute, four-minute [defense], we got to do a better job finishing games," Flores said. "That's something I really take personal responsibility for. I got to coach it better. I got to put our guys in better position. Our guys play hard, and we need to finish better."

Hockenson nears first 1,000-yard season

With 98 receiving yards against his former team on Sunday, tight end T.J. Hockenson can reach the first 1,000-yard season of his five-year NFL career. But Hockenson said that can't be something he focuses on while it's happening. He leads the Vikings with 91 catches and 902 receiving yards through 14 games and two injured ribs.

"You kind of look at that stuff after the season and [you're] able to recollect," Hockenson said. "Kirk [Cousins] has alluded to that. Every year you just want to go into the season and be a consistent player. Every Sunday you want to be able to be that guy. … The numbers and stuff — that doesn't really matter too much to me right now."