Nose tackle Michael Pierce will miss another three games, at least, after being placed on injured reserve Saturday, the Vikings announced.
Pierce has practiced once — Nov. 3 — in the past five weeks, and was set to miss his fifth game in a row on Sunday against the Chargers due to a lingering elbow injury. He first injured his elbow and shoulder during a Sept. 30 practice and tried to play through it in the Oct. 3 loss to Cleveland before exiting in the first half.
The Vikings promoted safety Myles Dorn and cornerback Tye Smith from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements. Safety Harrison Smith has already been ruled out while on the COVID list, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (groin) is listed questionable to play against the Chargers.
Pierce has played in four games since signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Vikings in 2020 free agency. He opted out in 2020, citing asthma that puts him at a heightened risk of complications from COVID-19.
Only the Chargers are allowing more yards per carry than the Vikings defense, which without Pierce has struggled to break through and tackle opponents for losses. They're currently giving up more per rush (4.8 yards) than last year's porous defense (4.6).