EAGAN, Minn.,-- The Minnesota Vikings anticipated all week that wide receiver Adam Thielen would be ruled out for Sunday’s game at Dallas. Learning that nose tackle Linval Joseph would be sidelined was a surprise.
The Vikings on Friday, Nov. 8, listed as out Thielen (hamstring), Joseph (knee) and safety Andrew Sendejo (groin), who returned to the team Wednesday after being claimed off waivers from Philadelphia. They listed as questionable cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle, non-football issue) and defensive end Stephen Weatherly (groin).
A source said Waynes missed practices on Thursday and Friday due to a family issue and is expected to play against the Cowboys.
Thielen, who aggravated his right hamstring injury and was lost for the game in the first quarter last Sunday at Kansas City, did not practice all week and will sit out for the second time in three weeks. Joseph was listed as a full participant in practice Wednesday but then sat out workouts Thursday and Friday.
“I found out (Thursday) night, actually,’’ said Jaleel Johnson, who will replace Joseph against the Cowboys.
Defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo said he didn’t have a clue Joseph would be out until Friday and the Vikings have been “keeping it on the hush.’’ Head coach Mike Zimmer declined to say anything about Joseph’s injury or how long he will be sidelined.
Joseph is known for his ability to stop the run, and the Cowboys feature Ezekial Elliott, who has led the NFL in rushing in two of the past three seasons. Johnson believes he will be up for the challenge of replacing Joseph, a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
“I’ve just got to go out and do what I do and perform at a high level,’’ Johnson said. “Nothing special about it. Nothing crazy. Just do what I’ve been doing. … There’s no pressure at all. I’m ready for it.’’
Johnson, in his third season, will make the second start of his career. He started in Week 7 last season against the New York Jets when an injured Joseph missed his only game of the year.
“We’re pretty confident in Jaleel Johnson,’’ Odenigbo said. “He’s improved a lot as the years have gone on. (Defensive line coach Andre Patterson) told us, ‘Hey, it’s not a big deal. Jaleel, we believe in you.’ Jaleel’s been playing great this whole year.’’
Zimmer said he has full confidence in Johnson, who “used to be a bull in a china shop and now he’s playing the technique’’ needed. Johnson also has played three-technique defensive tackle, but the Vikings regard him as better at nose tackle.
“As a young player, you’re not really honed into the details like the older guys are, so you’re just out there just going crazy trying to make a play,’’ Johnson said. “As you get older, you start to hone in on those little things that make you a great player.’’
The Cowboys on Friday listed as out tackle Cameron Fleming (calf) and as questionable wide receiver Amari Cooper (knee/ankle).