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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Too early to call? Zimmer says it’s too soon to know if sprained ankle will keep Riley Reiff out Sunday

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The Vikings’ makeshift offensive line had new faces in new places during Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, and as yet it’s unclear which linemen will be available for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that he’d know more about the extent of injuries to his offensive line on Wednesday. Riley Reiff’s ankle injury is a significant development for the Vikings, considered one of the favorites to win the NFC. But Zimmer wasn’t interested in assessing the situation too early.

“Today is Monday. I’m not going to talk about injuries,” Zimmer said, when asked if the Vikings’ veteran offensive tackle might play this week. “We’re not going to go there. There is no sense in starting already. I’ll know more Wednesday when they practice.”

Reiff hurt his ankle in the third quarter Sunday, and he was seen leaving the locker room afterward with his foot in a walking boot. Zimmer chuckled when a reporter asked if it was a broken ankle that forced the starter to miss the rest of the game at Carolina. “It’s a lot better than what he thought it was going to be,” Zimmer said. “No, it’s not broken.”

Reiff and Remmers have been the mainstays at the two offensive tackle positions for the Vikings this year. Remmers is out recovering from a back injury, and now Reiff has the ankle to worry about.

Rookie center Pat Elflein missed the game with a shoulder injury, which forced Nick Easton to sub in. Backup tackle Rashod Hill had started the day filling in for injured Mike Remmers at right tackle, but Hill was summoned to move to left tackle when Reiff went down in the third quarter. Jeremiah Sirles moved from guard and took over at right tackle when Hill switched sides.

Vikings injuries on offensive line are cause for concern

Hill had said Sunday that the line was responsible for the loss. He said he felt they should have given quarterback Case Keenum more time to operate. Instead, he took six sacks in a season-worst performance in that regard. But true to form, Zimmer wasn’t looking for excuses.

“When you have injuries, you’re going to have backup players play in there,” Zimmer said. “We’re not going to make an excuse for this game or for players that come in or anything else. We’ll take ownership of what we did Sunday and we’ll move forward.”

One thing is certain based on his reaction to a reporter’s question Monday: Mike Zimmer is not interested in resting his players and coasting into the playoffs. Even at 10-3, Zimmer’s not ready to concede that the Vikings have things wrapped up the way that they want them, and he sounded surprised or offended by the thought that they might take it easy on some critical players to ensure their health for the playoffs.

“Come on,” Zimmer said. “Come on. You didn’t seriously ask me that did you? If guys can play, they’re playing. That’s just how it’ll be. We’re not in the playoffs and we need to go out and play.”

The post Too early to call? Zimmer says it’s too soon to know if sprained ankle will keep Riley Reiff out Sunday appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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