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Vikings likely facing Jaguars without 2 more starters

Jacksonville has lost seven in a row and is dealing with its own set of injuries.
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Already down of bunch of starters, the Vikings will now likely be without center Joe Berger (concussion) and free safety Harrison Smith (ankle) Sunday in Jacksonville. Neither practiced Friday, according to reports, meaning Minnesota will probably have to start rookie Nick Easton at center and the seldom-used Anthony Harris in place of one of the best defensive players in the NFL.

The Star Tribune's Mark Craig reports that Berger did some stretching on the field Friday before leaving for the locker room with a team trainer.

Here's a pretty good visual of why the Vikings have lost six of seven games. The guys with lines through their name were starting before injuries derailed their season.

  • LT - Matt KalilJake Long T.J. Clemmings
  • C - Joe Berger Nick Easton
  • RT - Andre SmithT.J. Clemmings Jeremiah Sirles
  • QB - Teddy Bridgewater Sam Bradford
  • RB - Adrian Peterson Matt Asiata
  • FS - Harrison Smith Anthony Harris

If Berger doesn't play, the only original starters on the offensive line will be left guard Alex Boone and right guard Brandon Fusco.

Fortunately for the Vikings, Jacksonville lacks an explosive passing game. According to the Florida Times-Union, the Jags rank 22nd in passing yards per game and second to last in passing plays of 25-plus yards (just 13 this season). That's probably because Blake Bortles is terrible. He leads the NFL with 15 interceptions and he's thrown a pick-six in three of his last four games.

Injuries are also killing the Jags. They've already listed wide receiver Allen Hurns, tight end Julius Thomas, running back Denard Robinson, defensive tackle Jared Odrick and defensive back Peyton Thompson out for the game.

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