Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said earlier this week that it was all hands on deck for his football team as they try to keep their December push for the playoffs alive at Ford Field today against a Minnesota Vikings team looking to clinch their first NFC North division title since 2017 with a win.
The Lions are relatively healthy at the Week 14 point of the season but will have a to navigate through a couple injuries along their offensive line and at linebacker.
The team ruled out guard Kayode Awosika on Friday due to an ankle injury. Awosika had started the last two games in place of the injured Evan Brown. Brown, who injured an ankle against the Giants a couple weeks ago, returned to practice this week in limited fashion but isn't quite ready to return to game action and is inactive. Brown was listed as doubtful to play on Friday's injury report.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday, December 9, 2022.
That means the Lions will turn to their third option at the right guard spot, which would likely be Dan Skipper. Logan Stenberg is also available and the team signed guard Ross Pierschbacher to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday.
Second-year linebacker Derrick Barnes has been a key contributor for Detroit alongside Alex Anzalone and Malcolm Rodriguez, but will miss his first game of the season today after suffering a left knee injury in last week's win over Jacksonville. Barnes has 39 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a pass defended in 12 games (four starts). The team elevated veteran Jarrad Davis from the practice squad on Saturday to help fill the void left by Barnes' absence.
Detroit will also be without the services of starting nickel cornerback Will Harris, who aggravated a hip injury in practice this week. He was listed as questionable after missing Friday's practice but won't be able to go today. With the team also placing nickel corner Chase Lucas on IR (hamstring), they are a little thin, which is why they elevated Jarren Williams from the practice squad on Saturday.
Detroit will have their top three cornerbacks available today – Jeff Okudah, Jerry Jacobs and Mike Hughes – so it will be interesting to see if they put Hughes or Jacobs at the nickel, or if they use a committee approach to that spot.
Okudah was one of four players questionable to play today after dealing with an illness this week, but he returned to practice on Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday and will give it a go. So will wide receiver Kalif Raymond, who was also sick this week and listed as questionable to play.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld has also been dealing with an illness. Sudfeld didn't practice all week, but he is active and will be Jared Goff's backup today. The team signed veteran quarterback Joshua Dobbs to the practice squad this week as a backup plan in case Sudfeld couldn't go.
Joining Awosika, Barnes, Brown and Harris on Detroit's inactive list against the Vikings today are defensive linemen Michael Brockers, defensive lineman Austin Bryant and wide receiver Tom Kennedy.