Head coach Kevin O’Connell stated earlier in the week that the Minnesota Vikings would be playing their starters to begin Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, but ahead of the game, they announced that several starters would be inactive for Week 18. Here’s the full list of inactives for the Vikings:
- CB Cam Dantzler
- S Harrison Smith
- LB Brian Asamoah
- OLB Za’Darius Smith
- C Garrett Bradbury
- DL James Lynch
- DL Ross Blacklock
Harrison Smith was ruled out on Saturday after some knee soreness popped up on Friday, and in order to preserve his health for the playoffs, Minnesota will sit him in their final regular season game. Expect to see plenty of Josh Metellus in his place.
Meanwhile, Brian Asamoah, Cam Dantzler, and Za’Darius Smith are more major contributors on the defensive side that will not suit up for this game. Asamoah was on the injury report all week with a knee injury of his own while Dantzler was also listed as questionable with his lingering ankle injury. Meanwhile, Smith is an inactive due to a personal matter.
However, there is a notable absence from this list: TE Irv Smith. The Vikings tight end was activated from IR this weekend, and it appears that he will indeed make his return to the lineup on Sunday. O’Connell and OC Wes Phillips have mentioned that they expect him to be part of the playoff run for Minnesota, and this is just another step in that process.
Meanwhile, the Bears have seven players listed as inactive as well heading into Sunday’s game. Their list is as follows:
- QB Justin Fields
- RB Darrynton Evans
- LB Sterling Weatherford
- DL Angelo Blackson
- DB Kyler Gordon
- DB Jaylon Jones
- LB Terrell Lewis
Justin Fields was listed as out at QB early in the week after experiencing hip soreness, and he will be replaced by Nathan Peterman. He became Fields’ backup after Trevor Siemian went down with injury. Sunday will be Peterman’s first start since the 2018 season in which he started two games for the Buffalo Bills. In all, he has made four starts, and his teams have gone 1-3 in those starts.
Additionally, the Bears will be without starting CB and 2022 second-round pick Kyler Gordon. The CB has started 14 games for Chicago this season, recording 6 pass defenses and 3 interceptions throughout the year.
The Vikings and Bears are scheduled to kick off their season finale at 12 PM CST at Soldier Field.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.