Heading into Week 18, the Detroit Lions are virtually locked into the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs. But on the very slim chance they could climb to the No. 2 seed, with a win and help from results later in the day, head coach Dan Campbell said starters will play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Campbell did not ever say starters will play the whole game on Sunday, and he did acknowledge leeway for players who are dealing with an injury. There will also surely be consideration for the in-game situation to consider taking key players out of the game.
Here's a look at the final Week 18 injury report for the Lions, with designations for Sunday's game.
- WR Jameson Williams (ankle/illness)-Out
- TE Brock Wright (hip)-Out
- LB James Houston (ankle)-Out
- DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral)-Questionable
- DT Alim McNeill (knee)-Questionable
- DT Benito Jones (illness)-Questionable
- TE Sam LaPorta (ankle)-No designation
- OT Taylor Decker (groin)-No designation
- C Frank Ragnow (toe/knee/back)-No designation
- CB Cameron Sutton (toe)-No designation
- OG Graham Glasgow (illness)-No designation
Williams did not practice all week due to the ankle injury he suffered against the Cowboys in Week 17. There's some caution in play here, and he's expected to be ready for the Lions' Wild Card Round game. In his place, Donovan Peoples-Jones is particularly in line for a bigger role on Sunday.
Gardner-Johnson and McNeill are both ready to be activated off IR (by 4.p.m ET on Saturday) after the Lions cleared two roster spots this week (Isaiah Buggs and Anthony Firkser). The question is how much they play on Sunday, and it's not likely to be a lot.
Wright will miss his third straight game. James Mitchell will be the No. 2 tight end again, and with LaPorta a little banged up he may see a lot of playing time on Sunday.
Houston will remain on IR for a little longer, and it seems he's not all that likely to play in the Lions' first playoff game right now.
LaPorta was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, before being a full participant on Friday. Even with no injury designation, he's in line to play at least long enough to set the new Lions' single-season reception record for a tight end (he needs three). He needs one catch to own the single-season NFL record for catches by a rookie tight end on his own.
Here is the final Week 18 injury report for the Vikings.
- CB Byron Murphy Jr. (knee)-Out
- OT Brian O'Neill (ankle)-Out
- CB Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder)-Out
- S Theo Jackson (toe)-Out
- WR Jalen Nailor (concussion)-Out
- DT Jaquelin Roy (ankle)-Out
- OT Christian Darrisaw (illness)-Questionable
- OG Ed Ingram (shoulder)-Questionable
- S Harrison Smith (shoulder)-No designation
- TE Nick Muse -No designation