MINNEAPOLIS -- On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings have a chance to pressure Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who's already been sacked 21 times so far this season. But they'll have to do it without their best pass-rusher.
Defensive end Everson Griffen, who leads the team with three sacks, is inactive for Sunday's game with an illness. That means the Vikings will have just three defensive ends -- Brian Robison, Danielle Hunter and Scott Crichton -- active for Sunday's game, and they'll have to rely on two unproven players in Hunter and Crichton.
Both of the former third-round draft picks have shown some potential so far, and the Vikings love the athletic ability of the 20-year-old Hunter, who ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in February and will start on Sunday. But Griffen's absence means the Chiefs won't have to devote as much attention to his side of the line in pass protection. That could put more of an onus on the Vikings' blitz packages to get after Smith.
Wide receiver Charles Johnson also will miss his second consecutive game with a rib injury and rookie Stefon Diggs will start at split end after catching six passes in his first NFL action two weeks ago against Denver. The Vikings could have a chance to exploit a Chiefs defense that ranks 27th in the league in pass defense and Diggs might be in line for a big day.
Here is the Vikings' full list of inactives:
DE Everson Griffen
WR Charles Johnson
TE Chase Ford
C Nick Easton
CB Jabari Price