Berger, Smith ruled out for Vikings on Sunday vs. Jacksonville

If the Minnesota Vikings are going to come out of Jacksonville with a win on Sunday, they will have to do it without one of the best players on their defense.

On Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings released their final injury report before their Week 14 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend and it definitely was not full of good news. This weekend, the Vikings will have to take the field without two of their best players in center Joe Berger and safety Harrison Smith.

Berger has been out of action since Week 12 when he suffered a concussion against the Detroit Lions. Backup center Nick Easton will start in his place for the second straight game.

Oct 3, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) looks on against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Giants 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

As for Smith, he will be missing his first game of the 2016 season with an ankle injury. Smith suffered a severe sprain to his left ankle against the Dallas Cowboys last week and left U.S.

Bank Stadium that night on crutches and with his leg in a walking boot.

The Minnesota safety was already expected to miss this week’s game, but his status for the rest of the season still remains uncertain.

Either backup safety Anthony Harris or rookie Jayron Kearse will likely take the place of Smith in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Jaguars.

It will definitely be more difficult for the Vikings this week without these two players on the field. But injuries are part of every season and each of their backups should be fully prepared to put in a solid performance in Jacksonville.

Expect the Jaguars’ offense to attack Smith’s replacement early in the game Sunday to see if they can take advantage of the inexperience out on the field. But with a struggling Blake Bortles still starting under center for Jacksonville, the Vikings should be able to worry a little less this weekend about their star safety being inactive.

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