Vikings' Sanford, Evans are questionable

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Safety Jamarca Sanford and defensive tackle Fred Evans are questionable for the Minnesota Vikings' game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, when the team's battered defense will try to stop one of the league's top offenses.

Sanford, who was limited in practice Friday because of an ankle injury, showed up on the team's injury report for the first time this week, as did Evans, who coach Leslie Frazier said "tweaked his knee" Thursday. Both are questionable for Sunday's game; Frazier didn't address Sanford's injury but said Evans should be fine.

If either player is limited Sunday, though, the Vikings could have an even tougher task against the Packers. Green Bay has the league's sixth-best rushing attack, and both players would be counted on to slow down powerful rookie running back Eddie Lacy. The Vikings are already without safety Harrison Smith, who is on injured reserve because of turf toe, and linebacker Desmond Bishop, who had season-ending knee surgery, so they're hoping they won't have to weather more losses to their defense.

In other Vikings injury news:

  • Frazier said he was trying to decide if kicker Blair Walsh, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury to his non-kicking leg, will handle kickoff duty Sunday night. Punter Jeff Locke has been kicking off for the last two weeks, and Walsh was short on a 53-yard field-goal attempt on Monday night (the first time in his career he has missed from more than 50 yards).

  • On offense, the Vikings will be without tight end Rhett Ellison, who was part of the three-tight-end set the team used to open Monday's game against the New York Giants, and is one of the team's key run-blockers. Ellison has played fewer snaps than he did last year, but Frazier said his absence does limit some of the Vikings' flexibility with personnel.

  • Running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), an important blocker on the Vikings' kickoff unit, will miss Sunday's game after sitting out of practice all week.

  • Wide receiver Rodney Smith (hip) is out for his second straight game, though it's unlikely Smith would have been active were he healthy.

  • Quarterback Josh Freeman (concussion) was officially ruled out for Sunday's game. Christian Ponder will start at quarterback, with Matt Cassel backing him up.