The Detroit Lions made their injury designations for their home matchup with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13 and they will be without three starters: running back D’Andre Swift, EDGE Trey Flowers, and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
D’Andre Swift ruled OUT
Swift injured his shoulder on Thanksgiving Day and was unable to finish the contest. While he will be out for this week’s game, coach Dan Campbell sounded optimistic this may be the only week Swift misses.
“Right now I feel like he may be a week away. I’m hoping that, as a matter of fact,” Campbell said. “He’s still sore, but he’s getting better. He’s improving, but we’ll see where it goes here. We’ll know a lot more tomorrow. You see how he feels day in and day out, but as of right now, he’s pretty tender.”
Replacing Swift in the starting lineup will be veteran running back Jamaal Williams, but he won’t be asked to shoulder the load alone.
“It’s not easy to replace a guy like (Swift), as dynamic as he’s been, Campbell continued. “I think it really becomes that production is by committee now. Where does Swift’s production go now to get it back? I would say we’re trying to find ways to spread it throughout this roster of skill players that we do have. Jamaal (Williams) is going to take a lot of that. So are the other two backs, (Jermar) Jefferson, Godwin (Igwebuike), and then some of the other just pass production is going to have to come from our receivers and tight ends.”
Also ruled OUT
- EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder)
- DB Bobby Price (shoulder)
Flowers has now missed three games in a row since injuring his knee in overtime at Pittsburgh. Austin Bryant has filled in as the team’s starting SAM (rush) linebacker, but the Lions have also leaned heavily on Julian Okwara to fill in the pass-rushing gaps. Expect this trend to continue against the Vikings.
Reeves-Maybin has always been a dynamic special teams player, but he earned a starting role this season after the Lions released Jamie Collins. At times he has split the BUCK linebacker role with rookie Derrick Barnes, who will now be called upon to start this Sunday. The Lions may not feel JRM’s absence on defense, but special teams will take a hit.
Price missing this game is another blow to the Lions’ special teams unit. As one of their starting gunners, he’s been an impact player in that important role all season. It’s not clear who will replace him at gunner but look for UDFA rookie Mark Gilbert to be the lead candidate.
- RT Penei Sewell (illness, shoulder)
- OL Matt Nelson (ankle)
- DL Michael Brockers (knee)
Sewell was sick earlier in the week and didn't practice on Wednesday. He was limited on Thursday, then again on Friday when a shoulder injury appeared for the first time on the practice report. Sewell appeared to injure his shoulder against the Bears on Thanksgiving Day—he didn't miss a snap—but it’s unclear if this injury is a carryover of that or a new issue. Questionable is a good sign but doesn’t rule out a potential problem.
Nelson was a dominating run blocker in the Lions' sixth offensive lineman role before injury struck. The offense could use his presence this week against a Vikings run defense that has been suspect of late, allowing 4.8 yards per carry, 31st worst in the NFL. If Sewell is unable to play, Nelson would be the preferred next man up. If neither Nelson nor Sewell can go, Will Holden is OT4 on the roster.
Brockers saw his snaps scaled back last week with his knee injury and it opened the door for rookies Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill to have their best games of the season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn take the same approach this week.
No injury designation
- RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (concussion)
- WR Trinity Benson (knee)
- WR KhaDarel Hodge (illness)
Vaitai missed last week’s game with a concussion but appeared to pass the league’s protocols earlier this week. He is ready to resume his starting right guard role.
Benson lost the last two weeks to a knee injury, and likely his starting spot as well as Josh Reynolds has reestablished his connection with quarterback Jared Goff. Benson won’t be left out in the cold though, as the Lions are desperate to find life anywhere they can on offense, and he’ll get a chance to prove himself.
“Expect to get him (Benson) back this week, and see him contribute, because you see it,” wide receiver coach Antwaan Randle El said on Wednesday. “You see it show up, you see it happen, you see him making plays over and over again in practice. You’ve just got to get it to translate. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. You’ve just gotta get it to translate.”
Hodge’s illness has passed, and he is ready to return to his starting gunner role.
Injured reserve updates
- WR Quintez Cephus (collarbone) - placed on IR in Week 3
- K Austin Seibert (Hip) - placed on IR in Week 10
“No (Seibert) won’t be (returning),” Campbell said. “He’ll be done for this year.”
The Lions signed two kickers in his absence—Riley Patterson (active roster) and Aldrick Rosas (practice squad)—who will continue to have weekly practice competitions to see who will play on game days.
Cephus broke his collarbone in Week 2 and required surgery to repair his injury. There was some speculation that he was injured early enough in the season that he could possibly return, but on Friday morning, Campbell did not sound optimistic that it could happen.
“I think it’ll be highly unlikely (he returns),” Campbell said. “But both of those players (Cephus and Seibert) we feel very good about in 2022, being healed up and ready to go.”
You can view the Vikings’ final injury designations here.