‘Banged-up’ Vikings have quick turnaround for Thanksgiving game at Detroit

For the second straight year, the Vikings must travel on a short week for a Thanksgiving game in Detroit.

Defensive tackle Tom Johnson isn’t thrilled.

“It kind of sucks because you’ve got a short week coming off Sunday and then rolling into this week,” Johnson said Monday. “Guys are a little banged up, guys are a little tired. You have less time to really prepare. … It sucks, but it’s something that the league’s got going on and it’s something that we got to do.”

The Vikings (8-2) have a chance to all but eliminate Detroit (6-4) from the NFC North race. A victory would give the Lions a potential tiebreaker thanks to a 14-7 win at Minnesota on Oct. 1, and put them one game behind. A loss and they’d be three games back and all but done.

“It’s big, but it’s not about the division race, it’s about winning this game and whatever happens after we win this game, then that’s the division,” said defensive end Everson Griffen. “But we want to win this game to be able to say that we hold the division.”

After missing one game because of a foot injury, Griffen returned for Sunday’s 24-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Griffen said he isn’t back to 100 percent, but he’s not bothered by the quick turnaround for the Thanksgiving kickoff at 11:30 a.m. CST.

“We’re winning games right now, so I’m ready to play,” he said. “If we had to play again today, I think we’d muster it up and be ready to play.”

The Vikings and Lions didn’t practice Monday but were required to put out injury reports. Detroit is in better shape.

Had they practiced, the Vikings reported, it would have been without cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander (ankle) and Xavier Rhodes (calf), both hurt Sunday, and tackle Mike Remmers (concussion) and defensive end Brian Robison (lower back), both of whom sat out Sunday.

The Vikings reported that safety Andrew Sendejo (groin/hamstring), Griffen and linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (knee) would have been limited. Sendejo missed Sunday’s victory, replaced by Anthony Harris.

The Lions reported that cornerback Jamal Agnew (knee) and running back Dwayne Washington (hip) would have missed practice on Monday, and that defensive end Ziggy Ansah (back) would have been limited.

“It is a quick turnaround,” said Minnesota wide receiver Jarius Wright. “We have to do a great job of taking care of our bodies. … It’s a very important game.”

Griffen hurt his foot Oct. 29 against Cleveland. He said he’s getting massages and acupuncture and that the foot is feeling better.

“My morale is up,” he said. “I’m more happier because nobody likes an injured Everson. I’m very grouchy. Like (athletic trainer Eric Sugarman) always says, I make everybody miserable when I’m miserable.”

The Vikings have had recent trouble with the Lions. Since Mike Zimmer took over as coach in 2014, Minnesota is just 2-5 in the series, including a 16-13 loss last year on Thanksgiving.

“They’ve had our number, so it’s a huge game for us,” Johnson said.

The Vikings have won six straight since last month’s loss to the Lions. Before that game, Griffen called Detroit left tackle Greg Robinson “lazy,” and he hasn’t changed his tune on Robinson, who is now on injured reserve.

Current left tackle Taylor Decker is much better, Griffen said.

“Greg Robinson, he was lazy, and this guy’s a good player,” he said. “We’re going to battle. I feel like whenever I get an opportunity to get enough rushes, I can wear the guy down because my motor never stops. I just have confidence.

“I know what I can do, and I’m ready to ride with my team to win a Super Bowl. … Whatever I can do on a daily basis to help my team win games, to get the Big Fatty, and that’s the Super Bowl ring, in our home state.”


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