In a next-man-up league, former Browns running back Ben Tate might be the Vikings’ next, next, next man up when they face the Packers on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.

 on Wednesday and is expected to practice with the team for the first time on Thursday. With Adrian Peterson suspended for the rest of the season and Matt Asiata (concussion) and Jerick McKinnon (lower back) both missing Wednesday’s practice because of injuries, Tate was claimed off waivers. Former Gopher MarQueis Gray, a backup tight end, was released to make room for Tate.

Asiata’s concussion was the most surprising injury news of the day. He ranks 15th in the league in scoring with 44 points on seven touchdowns but will have to pass the league’s concussion protocol before being allowed back on the field.

McKinnon, who is averaging 4.9 yards a carry, has had a lower back issue since last week. He played through it in Sunday’s loss to the Bears and averaged 4.8 yards per carry, although he had only eight carries.

One of coach Mike Zimmer’s biggest complaints about Sunday’s 21-13 loss was the team’s inability to run the ball. The 5-10, 220-pound Tate could provide a spark while auditioning for a more prominent role should the Vikings part ways with Peterson, who isn’t eligible for reinstatement until April 15.

Tate, a second-round draft pick of the Texans in 2011, is relatively young (26) and fresh (527 carries in four seasons), although durability has been a concern about him since his days at Auburn. He signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Browns this spring and was expected to be their lead running back but suffered a knee injury after rushing for 41 yards on six carries in the season opener.

A month out of the lineup enabled rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell to surpass Tate. A week ago, Tate complained about his role, which led to only two carries for minus-9 yards, which led to him packing his bags for Minnesota.

In eight games with the Browns, Tate rushed 106 times for 333 yards and four TDs. His best season was his rookie year, when he ran for 942 yards and four TDs.

Rodgers’ TD-INT ratio: 31-4!?

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played the Vikings 13 times in the regular season and once in the playoffs. He has 31 touchdown passes and four interceptions in 438 attempts.

In other words, picks are hard to come by when the Purple plays the Packers sans B. Favre. Of course, Rodgers is pretty stingy in that regard with most opponents.

Why is that?

“Well, he’s got such a strong arm that [the ball] gets there fast, even when you’ve got guys covered,” Zimmer said. “… He gets the ball out so fast, but the receivers know exactly where they are supposed to be.

“And even when things break down, he does a great job of moving in the pocket or moving out of the pocket and finding receivers. And then a lot of bad things happen, too.”

Wright, Jennings sit

Running back wasn’t the only position looking a little light on Wednesday. Also on the injury report as having missed practice were receivers Jarius Wright (hamstring) and Greg Jennings (rib), as well as offensive tackle Mike Harris (ankle).

On the report as limited were linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and defensive end Everson Griffen (neck). On the report with full practice participation were tight end Kyle Rudolph (sports hernia) and defensive end Scott Crichton (hip).

A new franchise face?

With Peterson’s future with the team very much in doubt, rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seems to be the logical choice when reporters have the urge to dub someone the “Face of the Franchise.”

Bridgewater seems cool with that but was quick to pass the praise around.

“I can tell you that I’ll embrace the role,” he said. “We have a group of guys who have established themselves in this league. I know that for me, it’s not all about me. … We have other playmakers on this team, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Jerick McKinnon and then you talk about the defensive side of the ball with Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Chad Greenway and those guys. It’s an overall team effort.”