Week One Injury Breakdown: Vikings @ Chargers

Author’s Note: After publication of this article, QB Donovan McNabb (wrist) and CB Chris Cook (hamstring) were listed on the injury report, but both participated fully in Wednesdays’ practice.  CB Asher Allen (toe) was a limited participant in practice.

Some weeks the injury report will have a very big impact on the game, both the on-field contest and the fantasy football decisions of “owners” across the land.  This week, in the openers for the 2011 NFL Season, that is not really the case.  Outside of Colts QB Peyton Manning and Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, there are not a great number of significant, game-changing injuries across the league.  Today we’ll take a look at the published injury reports for your Vikings and the home team San Diego Chargers:

Minnesota Vikings:

++ LB Jasper Brinkley (OUT, IR): This status for Brinkley will be a constant throughout the season, so we will list it in Week 1 and update you only if anything changes.  Basically, Brinkley suffered a hip flexor injury in the preseason that evolved into a season-ending ailment for the 4th year backup LB out of South Carolina, and that effectively ends his season and targets him for a 2012 return.  Considering that he was mostly a special-teams contributor in 2010, this should not have a huge effect on the Vikings this season.

++ TE Visanthe Shiancoe (Ques.): Shiancoe sat out the preseason with a hamstring issue, but all indications are that he’s on track for a healthy start to the 2011 regular season.  Assuming that he is healthy, you can expect him to pick up right where he left off in 2010 as a significant contributor in the passing game.

San Diego Chargers:

++ S Bob Sanders (Prob.): It seems as though Sanders will be healthy to start the season, but the Chargers recognize the importance of resting him whenever they are able.  Look for the Vikings to test his willingness to be physical in the early stages of this Week 1 contest.

++ WR Vincent Brown (Prob.): Brown was reported to be a full participant in Monday’s practice, and should be factored into the game plan for Sunday.  However, from the Vikings’ perspective, Brown is a rookie #4/#5 receiver, so don’t look for this to be a game-changer on Sunday.

++ WR Patrick Crayton (Ques.): Crayton did practice on Monday and is planning to be ready for the Vikings, according to San Diego’s North County Times.  Again, one more healthy weapon in the passing game is always a plus for QB Philip Rivers, but his most important weapons (V. Jackson, A. Gates, and M. Floyd) have no significant injury news to start the season.  Crayton will be a bonus for a team already loaded with weapons.

Bottom Line: Injuries shouldn’t have a dramatic effect on this game for either side, but keep an eye on each team as the first units go full speed for 60 minutes WITHOUT the benefit of full off-season conditioning.  Don’t be surprised to see a lengthy injury report in Week 2 as teams adjust to the full speed of the NFL Regular Season.

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