MINNEAPOLIS – The Detroit Lions will once again be shorthanded upfront on defense as they take on Minnesota today and the Vikings' eighth ranked offense.
Detroit will be without versatile defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (ankle) and rookie edge rusher Austin Bryant (hip). Hand aggravated an ankle injury he's been dealing with for a few weeks now in practice on Wednesday. Bryant injured his hip in Thursday's practice.
It will be the 10th game Hand's missed this season due to elbow and ankle injuries. Bryant, Detroit's fourth-round pick, has played in just one game after he started the season on injured reserve with a pectoral injury.
Detroit ruled out quarterback Matthew Stafford on Friday's injury report, which means the 11-year veteran will miss his fifth straight game with a back injury. David Blough is expected to make his second career start at quarterback after throwing for 280 yards with two touchdowns and an interception last week in Detroit's loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving. Newly signed Kyle Sloter will be Blough's backup today.
The Lions will also be without cornerback and return man Jamal Agnew because of an ankle injury. I expect Danny Amendola to return punts today. Wide receiver Chris Lacy was back deep on kickoffs against the Bears in place of Agnew, who will miss his third consecutive game after suffering the ankle injury Week 11 vs. Dallas returning a kickoff late in that contest.
Joining Stafford, Hand, Bryant and Agnew on Detroit's inactive list today are: Cornerback Michael Jackson and guards Oday Aboushi and Beau Benzschawel.