Earlier today, we told you about the slew of Minnesota Vikings' defensive players that missed practice on Monday. In a move that shouldn't really surprise. . .or, for that matter, disappoint. . .anyone, the team has already declared that their three best defensive players will not suit up against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.
Per A.J. Mansour at KFAN, the Vikings have already ruled out linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and safety Harrison Smith for this Thursday's game.
Joseph was inactive for last Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and both Barr and Smith went out on the second defensive series of the afternoon. The Vikings' defense had some real struggles with those three players out of the game. . .not that they wouldn't have struggled with them, mind you, but that made things a whole lot worse.
This means that the Vikings will be without their best defensive player at each level of the defense. Joseph has been having an All-Pro caliber season at defensive tackle, while Barr and Smith have both made huge contributions as well.
On the bright side, so much as there is one, those three players will have at least two full weeks of rest (three, in Joseph's case) before the Vikings come back from their mini-bye following the Cardinals game with a pair of home games against the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. Those two games could hold the key to whether or not the Vikings make the post-season (and with what seed) or whether or not they finish what would be a pretty substantial collapse.
But, those three guys won't be on the field on Thursday night for our favorite team. Hopefully with a little time to prepare, things won't get as messy in Arizona as they did against Seattle.