The Minnesota Vikings will be severely short-handed against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.
The Vikings announced on Wednesday afternoon that they will hold out safety Harrison Smith (due to a hamstring injury), linebacker Anthony Barr (groin, hand) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot) this week.
Additionally, safety Andrew Sendejo, who figured to be in line to start this week, has been ruled out due to a knee ailment.
And it only gets worse for coach Mike Zimmer’s defense from there. Backup linebacker Brandon Watts (rib) will not play in Arizona.
Safety Robert Blanton returned to practice on Wednesday and is officially listed as questionable, which means reserve safeties Anthony Harris and Shaun Prater could see extensive playing time this week. Defensive end Scott Crichton (ankle) fully participated in practice on Wednesday and is expected to play against the Cardinals on Thursday night in Glendale, Ariz.
Losing the triumvirate of Smith, Barr and Joseph could be especially costly for Minnesota. Barr is currrently second on the team in total tackles, with 61. Smith is third on the team in tackles, with 56 stops, and Joseph is fourth, with 54 tackles.
Arizona, an eight-point favorite on Thursday night, boasts the NFC’s top passer in terms of yardage and touchdown passes, in Carson Palmer.