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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings will be missing at least one key player for Sunday’s game against Bears

By Judd Zulgad

Rookie center Pat Elflein won’t play for the Vikings on Sunday against the Bears because of a shoulder injury that also sidelined him for Minnesota’s loss at Carolina on Dec. 10.

Elflein was unable to practice this week and it’s unknown if the injury could be an issue for him in the playoffs. The Vikings clinched the NFC North on Dec. 17 against Cincinnati, but still will be trying to wrap-up the No. 2 seed in the NFC on Sunday. The second seed would give Minnesota, and Elflein, a first-round bye and a much-needed extra week of rest. A victory over Chicago would clinch the No. 2 seed. So would a loss by Carolina or wins by New Orleans or the Rams.

Elflein, a third-round pick out of Ohio State last spring, has been a key reason for the Vikings’ drastic improvement on the offensive line this season.

Also declared out for Sundays’ game are long snapper Kevin McDermott (shoulder), nose tackle Shamar Stephen (ankle) and cornerback Tramaine Brock (foot).

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is going to have to get creative with his offensive line for Sunday’s game since left guard Nick Easton, who was Elflein’s top backup at center, was placed on injured reserve this week.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who has been battling an ankle injury in recent weeks, was limited in practice this week but is expected to continue playing.

The post Vikings will be missing at least one key player for Sunday’s game against Bears appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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