TAMPA, Fla. — The Minnesota Vikings head into Tampa Sunday facing a must-win game and wily Bucs QB Tom Brady, who many consider the greatest of all time.
As if that wasn't enough, they'll take the field without middle linebacker Eric Kendricks, the undisputed leader of the Vikings defense and a ball hawk considered among the best in the league at his position.
He and backup running back Alexander Mattison were officially listed as "out" by the Vikings in Friday's injury report. Dependable tight end Kyle Rudolph is listed as doubtful, while his backup and rising star Irv Smith Jr. is questionable.
Kendricks injured his calf during warmups for Sunday's ugly win against Jacksonville, and missed the entire game.
The Vikings have risen to 6-6 after a 1-5 start to the season, pushing them to second place in the NFC North. The club now holds the final playoff spot in an NFC logjam, and a loss to Tampa would be a tremendous setback.