Five Vikings players, including three defenders, have been ruled out ahead of Friday's kickoff in New Orleans, further challenging coach Mike Zimmer's side of the ball.

Minnesota will likely be down to four linebackers — Eric Wilson, Ryan Connelly, Blake Lynch and Hardy Nickerson Jr. — against the Saints offense, with linebackers Eric Kendricks (calf) and Troy Dye (concussion/hamstring) ruled out, and another, Todd Davis (ribs), unable to practice and listed doubtful to play.

The Vikings' 23rd-ranked defense will also be without defensive end Jalyn Holmes, who has been sidelined this week by a groin injury suffered in Sunday's loss to the Bears. Rookie fourth-round defensive end D.J. Wonnum is in line for his first NFL start.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) and running back Alexander Mattison (concussion) have also been ruled out.

Defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and fullback Jake Bargas have been elevated from the practice squad for Friday's game, indicating they're preparing to be without fullback C.J. Ham (quad). Ham is officially listed questionable due to a quadriceps injury suffered two weeks ago in Tampa Bay. He played through it against Chicago and had a limited practice on Thursday. Defensive tackle Armon Watts (ankle) is also questionable.

Cornerback Cameron Dantzler will play after suffering a foot injury at the end of the Chicago game. Dantzler was upgraded to a full participant in Thursday's session.

Saints' injury report: S Marcus Williams (ankle), C Nick Easton (concussion) and WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) have been ruled out; defensive end Trey Hendrickson (neck), defensive tackle Malcolm Brown (calf) and guard Andrus Peat (ankle) are listed questionable to play vs. the Vikings.