The Vikings ruled six players out for Thursday's game -- cornerback Chris Cook (hip), safety Jamarca Sanford (groin), tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot), right tackle Phil Loadholt (concussion), running back Matt Asiata (shoulder) defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) -- and listed two more as doubtful. Defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest/knee) is unlikely to play, as is guard Charlie Johnson (elbow).
That means the Vikings could be without as many as seven of their opening day starters (Cook, Sanford, Rudolph, Loadholt, Guion, Johnson and Harrison Smith, who is on injured reserve). Their defense has struggled enough when it's been healthy, and on Thursday, the Vikings will try to slow down Robert Griffin III with a number of backups.
Safeties Andrew Sendejo and Mistral Raymond both started last week, and each was at the center of some big plays for the Dallas Cowboys in their 27-23 win; Raymond missed several tackles, and it appeared Sendejo tried to jump receiver Dez Bryant's route on the Cowboys' game-winning touchdown drive, leaving space in the middle of the field for Bryant to pick up 34 yards. Robert Blanton will also see time at safety, trading series with Raymond.
And on offense, the Vikings will be without one, and possibly two, of their linemen, marking the first time since the beginning of the 2012 season they've had to split up their group of five starters.
Tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) is questionable for Thursday's game, and three players on the Vikings' injury report -- cornerback Josh Robinson (chest), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (knee) and linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist) are probable.