INGLWOOD, Calif. – Viking nose-up Michael Pearce has missed the last four games with an elbow injury. Now he will miss at least three more.
On Saturday, the Vikings put Pierce on reserve, which means he won’t be able to return until December 5 in Detroit. Pierce has not played against Cleveland since October 3 after injury, and was kicked out of the Los Angeles Chargers’ game Friday at SoFi Stadium on Sunday. The Vikings hoped Pierce’s injury would not hold him back for that long, and he returned for one training session on November 3 before he passed out again.
The Vikings also activated defender Miles Dorn and defender Ty Smith from the training team for Sunday’s game as a replacement for COVID-19. Dorn will provide depth due to the fivefold safety of the Pro Bowl, Harrison Smith missed his second game in a row while on the COVID-19 reserve list, and Smith will provide depth with corner-back Basho Breeland, listed as questionable due to a groin injury.
On Sunday, the Vikings will not have at least five strongest defenders. In addition to the absence of Pierce and Smith, all-star defense team Daniel Hunter was ruled out for the season with a pectoral rupture on October 31 against Dallas. Hamstring injury and star midfielder Anthony Barr was ruled out Friday with a knee injury.
Replaced again by Armon Watts for Pierce, Cam Bynum for Smith, DJ Wonnum for Hunter and Cameron Danzler for Peterson. With Barr’s departure, Nick Vigil will transform from third midfielder into a versatile player. He did so when Barr missed the first four games with a knee injury and Blake Lynch was then third midfielder. Barr will miss his fifth game of the season on Sunday.
The Vikings will also be left without one starting player in attack in the center of Garrett Bradbury, who will miss his second game in a row on the COVID-19 roster, and will be replaced by Mason Cole again.
The Vikings have four players who were on the 53-person list on the COVID-19 roster in Smith, Bradbury, midfielder Ryan Connelly, and defender Kenny Villekes. They have two players on the COVID-19 training squad roster – security guard Dakota Dozier, who was hospitalized last Tuesday due to coronavirus symptoms and is fighting Timon Parris.