Starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse missed practice on Friday due to a personal matter, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he expects Newhouse to be on the team plane Saturday for Minneapolis.
“Marshall is ready to play in the game Sunday,” McCarthy said following Friday’s practice, without getting into the specifics of Newhouse’s absence. “He’s where he needs to be, with his family right now. I’m very confident in Marshall’s preparation, and I anticipate he’ll be back tomorrow.”
Listed on the injury report because he missed practice, Newhouse is “probable” for Sunday’s game.
His situation was one of several that created some lineup uncertainty on the final day of preparation for the Vikings game.
Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett was added to the injury report with a concussion sustained during Thursday’s practice and is listed as “questionable.” Pickett did not practice on Friday and will be re-evaluated on Saturday morning, though McCarthy sounded optimistic he would be able to play.
“It’s really precautionary,” McCarthy said. “Dr. John Gray is playing the high side.
“They’re not very concerned about Ryan. Just walking off the field with (head athletic trainer) Pepper (Burruss), he feels very confident that Ryan will be cleared tomorrow.”
It’s a little more dicey with cornerback Sam Shields, who sustained a concussion in last week’s game and did not practice all week. Like Pickett, Shields will be re-examined on Saturday morning, but he’s “doubtful” on the injury report.
If Shields is unable to play, veteran Jarrett Bush would likely step in as the nickel corner, with Pat Lee moving up to the dime spot. Bush and Lee took those roles back in Week 2, when starting cornerback Tramon Williams missed the game with a shoulder injury.
“We always have guys who are ready to step in and have done a good job of it in the past,” Williams said. “We expect the same thing now.”
As a regular on all the special-teams units, Bush could be in for a busy day if he plays in the nickel defense, as well. He says he’s ready for whatever workload the coaches need him to handle.
“You always have to be prepared to push yourself, no matter how many reps you’re going to play,” Bush said. “You don’t know. Hopefully, you can fight through some of the fatigue and play the best you can.”
Another spot the Packers depth may be tested is at outside linebacker.
Frank Zombo (knee) and Jamari Lattimore (shoulder) are out for Sunday, leaving Brad Jones and possibly rookie Vic So’oto as the backups behind Clay Matthews and Erik Walden.
After a banner preseason that got him a roster spot as an undrafted free agent, So’oto has been inactive for all but one game in the regular season, in part because the other backups at his position are ahead of him on special teams.
Once he’s ready to contribute there, he may also get a chance from scrimmage, where he recorded 2½ sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown in August.
“Preseason games don’t really count,” So’oto said. “They’re kind of glorified scrimmages. It would be a great thing to finally get in there, get some live reps and try to get after the quarterback.”
The Vikings are dealing with some injury issues of their own.
Like the Packers, the Vikings have a handful of starters who missed some practice time this week but are listed as “probable.”
Three Minnesota starters may not return from their injuries this week, though. Center John Sullivan (concussion), cornerback Antoine Winfield (neck) and safety Jamarca Sanford (concussion) are all listed as “doubtful” for the game. Additional coverage - Oct. 21