After missing last week with a foot injury, Vikings left guard Ezra Cleveland has been a limited participant in practice this week. He is listed as questionable heading into the rivalry game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
Asked how Cleveland has looked in practice this week, head coach Kevin O’Connell noted that he is slowly working his way back to 100 percent. He also acknowledged that left guard Dalton Risner has looked good in practice this week.
It raises the question: Which player starts for the Vikings if Cleveland and Risner are at full strength heading into the game against the Packers?
“We are working through that,” O’Connell said. “As we have said from the beginning of training camp, we are on the look for the best five, and that is ultimately is going to be what drives the decision.”
It’s worth noting that with Risner starting Monday night’s game, the offensive line for the Vikings had arguably its best performance this season. That group dominated the trenches against a very talented defensive front, which helped the Vikings score the upset over the San Francisco 49ers.
“We want to try and solidify what that best five looks like,” O’Connell said. “The ebbs and flows of guys getting dinged up here and there will have a lot to do with it.”
Asamoah ruled out
The only Vikings player ruled out for Sunday’s game is linebacker Brian Asamoah. He is working through an ankle injury and did not practice this week.
“Just didn’t turn over like we had hoped,” O’Connell said. “We’ll try to get him some more treatment throughout the weekend and see if we can have him available for next week.”
Meanwhile, running back Kene Nwangwu is questionable with an illness, and receiver Jalen Nailor is questionable with a hamstring injury. Tight end T.J. Hockenson, after missing a practice earlier this week, has progressed to the point that he doesn’t have an injury designation.
It’s always going to be a talking point at Lambeau Field. Will players opt for different cleats in hopes of better traction on natural grass?
Though it’s something O’Connell has encouraged his players to consider this week, he won’t mandate the type of footwear use on Sunday.
“I think enough of them understand how important it is,” O’Connell said. “The seven-stud cleats will clearly be a tool for those guys to use to help enhance their ability to not be on the ground. That is really the No. 1 requirement for football players — to not be on the ground when they don’t have to be.”
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