Injury concerns for the Vikings and Cardinals leading up to their game this Sunday night have been largely centered on QB Kurt Warner (concussion) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot). But there are a couple of other injury situations that will impact this matchup and both of them are along the offensive line.
For the Cardinals, starting LT Mike Gandy has missed 2 consecutive practices due to a pelvis injury he suffered last week in Tennessee. Arizona has started the same offensive line for 31 consecutive games but that streak may come to an end this week if Gandy is unable to play.
Starting in Gandy’s place should he be unable to go will be Jeremy Bridges, a 6-year veteran who has placed mostly G and some RT during his career. With Jared Allen and the Williams Wall coming to town on Sunday, Bridges will be tested. But he sounds confident.
“They say you’re supposed to be a little more finesse at left tackle, but it’s the same difference, man,” Bridges told the team’s official website. “You’ve got great athletes coming off that edge and you’ve got to block them. You’ve got to do a lot of dancing.”
The Vikings face a similar scenario along their offensive line, but at a different position. Starting RG Anthony Herrera has also missed 2 practices this week and he was held out of last week’s game against Chicago after suffering a concussion against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11. The difference is that the Vikings already have one game under their belt with a backup in the starting lineup.
Veteran swingman Artis Hicks, whose value with the Vikings is that he can play 4 positions along the offensive line, filled in more-than-capably for Herrera last week.
“I thought he did a good job,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said last week after the Bears game. “He is a jack of all trades. He doesn’t flinch. He’s started right tackle, he’s started right guard, he started on the over side so he’s a valuable guy and there is nobody on that team that thinks twice about him going in there.”
Against Chicago last week the Vikings offensive line protected QB Brett Favre as he threw for 392 yards and they also paved the way for the Vikings ground game to record 152 net yards rushing.
It may very well be that both Gandy for the Cardinals and Herrera for the Vikings are able to play on Sunday night. But if they aren’t, Bridges and Hicks are poised to step up and fit in.
Tags: Anthony Herrera, Antoine Winfield, Artis Hicks
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