With a quick turn-around between the third and fourth pre-season games, there will be several prominent members of the Minnesota Vikings that will be sitting out of Thursday's pre-season finale against the Tennessee Titans.
Head coach Mike Zimmer announced that rookie linebacker Anthony Barr will sit out with a "minor sprained ankle," while offensive tackle Phil Loadholt will also be sitting out with an ankle injury. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph will not play either, as he is still recovering from the gunshot injury he sustained to his calf following the Vikings' first pre-season game.
(Yes, it's still weird to type that.)
They will join linebackers Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti, and Brandon Watts, who are all expected to sit out with various leg injuries (an ankle for Hodges and a foot for Mauti. . .Watts' injury is unspecified). Rookie cornerback Jabari Price will miss his second straight game with an arm injury, and wide receiver Rodney Smith could be out as well after injuring his back and neck during an onside kick in Saturday's game at Kansas City.
For guys like Watts, Price, and Smith. . .and possibly even Mauti, if some whispers are to be believed. . .missing the final pre-season game could end up being a pretty major deal. With the Vikings' final cutdown from 75 players to 53 needing to be completed less than 48 hours after the Tennessee game, missing a final opportunity to impress the Vikings' brass could be the difference between making the roster and getting a visit from the Turk.
We'll see how all of this shakes out on Thursday night and into the weekend, as some pretty tough decisions are going to have to be made.