The Detroit Lions have declared their injury designations for their Week 14 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings and will once again be looking for answers at their starting right guard position.
Let’s take a closer look at where the Lions stand with regard to injuries.
21-day evaluation clock
- WR Quintez Cephus (foot, IR): Day 3 (latest update)
- RB Craig Reynolds (ribs, IR): Day 2 (latest update)
There have been no indicators either is ready to return to the active roster this week, but if they do, that move would likely come on Saturday.
- G Kayode Awosika (ankle)
- LB Derrick Barnes (knee)
- NB Chase Lucas (hamstring)
When starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai was injured ahead of the season, the Lions turned to Logan Stenberg to hold down the spot. It wasn’t long before he was replaced by Evan Brown until he was injured. Dan Skipper also got a shot at the position, but over the last two games, the Lions had turned to Awosika as their starter. With him being ruled out, the Lions will once again be looking at their depth chart for answers—more on that in a minute.
Barnes had been splitting time with Malcolm Rodriguez at the WILL linebacker position while Rodriguez recovered from an elbow injury. But with Barnes ruled out, if Rodriguez needs to be substituted, the team will likely turn to Anthony Pittman on traditional downs, and Chris Board on passing downs.
Lucas was cleared of a hamstring injury last week, but showed up with the same injury mid-week and was unable to practice the last two days. The Lions could look to elevate a player from the practice squad—like AJ Parker—for nickel depth.
- RG Evan Brown (ankle)
With Awosika already ruled out, the Lions would love to return Brown to the starting lineup, but with a doubtful designation, the odds of that happening seem slim.
“He’s better than he was last week, and he’s still kind of working through it,” coach Dan Campbell said of Brown at Friday’s press conference. “So, it’s tough to say right now. I mean I think he is as of right now, he truly is questionable, right now, this moment.”
The Lions may be forced to turn back to Skipper or Stenberg this week but which player gets the nod is an unknown.
“Well, I don’t want to say who that is, but we’ve got about three options, and so we’re ready,” Campbell continued. “I mean we feel good with what we’ve got.”
The third option is Matt Nelson, but he hasn’t played guard this season, so the chances are that it’ll likely be Skipper—who previously took over for Brown—or Stenberg—who was repping with the first team in practice at times this week.
- QB Nate Sudfeld (illness)
- WR Kalif Raymond (illness)
- CB Jeff Okudah (illness)
- DB Will Harris (hip)
The players dealing with illness will have a little less than 48 hours to get themselves back to health, which seems like plenty of time, but illnesses tend to linger this time of year, so nothing is for certain. Raymond and Okudah were able to get in a limited practice on Friday, so that is encouraging.
Harris is a much bigger concern. The last time Harris suffered a mid-week injury, and was not able to practice (he did not practice on Friday), he missed the game that weekend. With Lucas already ruled out, if Harris can’t go, they would likely turn to Jerry Jacobs or Mike Hughes to push inside, or as previously mentioned, elevating Parker from the practice squad.
Not listed with an injury designation
- RB Jamaal Williams (hand)
- RB D’Andre Swift (ankle)
- LT Taylor Decker (elbow)
- C Frank Ragnow (foot)
- S DeShon Elliott (ankle)
All five starters in this section were limited in practice this week, but all of them practiced in full on Friday and are good to go for Sunday’s game.
Vikings injury designations
Here’s a look at the Vikings’ injury designations:
Final #MINvsDET injury report... pic.twitter.com/H60702VH7W— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) December 9, 2022