Sunday’s loss in Dallas did more than further demoralize an already frustrated Vikings team, it also took a big physical toll, with several key players going down to injury.
Shortly before the half, the Vikings lost right tackle Phil Loadholt to a concussion and were forced to insert Bears cast-off J’Marcus Webb. It didn’t take long for Webb’s presence to be felt in a negative way; early in the third quarter with the Vikings backed up to their own end zone Webb was torched by George Selvie who stripped Christian Ponder of the ball, leading to a Dallas touchdown.
The Vikings surrendered another quick score to the Cowboys but fought back when Christian Ponder hit Kyle Rudolph up the seam for a touchdown pass. Unfortunately even that silvery cloud had a dark lining for the Vikings. Rudolph fought valiantly to get in the end zone after making the reception, but injured his ankle/foot in the process and had to leave the game. X-rays after the game were negative but Rudolph’s status remains up in the air.
A third potentially damaging injury happened late in the game when rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has suffered multiple dings this season, hurt his leg and had to be replaced by A.J. Jefferson. Rhodes will have an MRI on the leg.
The Vikings went into the game missing several key players, including starting cornerback Chris Cook and starting safety Jamarca Sanford. The Vikings’ secondary held up remarkably well against the Cowboys despite the injuries. Blocking tight end Rhett Ellison also missed the game with injury, but his loss wasn’t felt too keenly with Adrian Peterson going for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the lost starters the Vikings still had a chance to pull out the win in Dallas, but ultimately came up short. By all appearances the roster will once again be woefully short-handed Thursday against Washington. A team this bad can’t afford to lose important players like Rudolph and Loadholt and expect to still be competitive. We could be in for a long night against Robert Griffin III and the Redskins.