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Vikings appear thin at LB for Sunday

12/26/2014

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are in the middle of their final full-team practice of the 2014 season, and it's looking as though they'll have to do something about their linebacker depth between now and Sunday's season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Chad Greenway and Brandon Watts were both absent from the practice field as the Vikings worked outside on Friday, suggesting that neither will be available for Sunday's game. The Vikings already had ruled Anthony Barr out for the rest of the season; Greenway and Watts could join Barr on the sidelines with knee and hamstring injuries, respectively.

At the moment, the Vikings have just three healthy linebackers on their active roster. Audie Cole and Gerald Hodges were taking first-team snaps in nickel situations while the Vikings practiced on Friday, and it stands to reason that Cole would start at strongside linebacker, with Jasper Brinkley in the middle and Hodges on the weak side if Greenway is unable to go.

The Vikings signed linebacker Justin Anderson to their practice squad earlier this week, and they also have Josh Kaddu on their practice squad. One or both of those players could get added to the active roster before Sunday for linebacker depth; if the Vikings aren't going to use some of their injured linebackers on Sunday, it'd be easy enough to put them on injured reserve to clear roster space for additions from the practice squad.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who hasn't participated in a practice all week, was on the field on Friday, indicating he'll have a shot to return from an ankle injury on Sunday. Wide receiver Jarius Wright also returned from a low back injury for the open portion of Friday's practice.