With practice wrapped up for the week, the Minnesota Vikings have confirmed their injury report while listing wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (concussion) and Jarius Wright (ankle) alongside cornerback Marcus Sherels (wrist) and tight end MyCole Pruitt (leg) as questionable for Monday night against the Chicago Bears.
If Patterson and Sherels are both sidelined, punt returning options are the biggest question to be answered.
Sherels has handled all 13 of the punt returns for the Vikings this season and has averaged 14.6 yards per return. He has also added two touchdowns. Patterson would presumably take over the role as the team’s leading kick returner, who has four touchdowns off kickoffs the past three seasons.
Without Sherels or Patterson, it appears that wide receiver Adam Thielen would take over both punt and kick return duties. He has not returned either since 2014 but is listed as the punt return backup. The only other players to take kick returns are wide outs Laquon Treadwell and Charles Johnson. Though, Thielen is the team’s second-leading receiver behind Stefon Diggs and could be deemed too valuable an offensive asset to risk injury on a return.
Sherels’ injury mostly changes the game plan on special teams as he is listed behind Terence Newman and Trae Waynes at left cornerback. Both are excluded from the injury report and Sherels has played on four defensive snaps this year.
Pruitt’s injury doesn’t come at as much of a cost as fellow tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison are both listed higher on the depth chart and are each healthy. Pruitt has just one reception this season while Rudolph and Ellison have combined for 28 catches.