May 21, 2024

Fans react as the game starts to slip away from the Lions during an NFL game at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Detroit Lions, 23-20, on a last second field goal.

Checking in on the Detroit Lions’ injury designations ahead of their Week 18 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Detroit Lions have declared their Week 18 injury designations ahead of their regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings and things have played out as expected based on participation levels throughout the week.

Ruled OUT

  • WR Jameson Williams (ankle)
  • TE Brock Wright (groin)
  • EDGE James Houston (IR, ankle) — evaluation days remaining: 13

For the third week in a row, tight end Williams and Wright were unable to train, therefore they will be excluded.

Williams’ injury is expected to keep Josh Reynolds, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Kalif Raymond or Donovan Peoples-Jones in the starting lineup. Even though Raymond has more experience, Peoples-Jones is a more stylistically comparable player to Williams and would be simpler to replace one for the other. After being a healthy scratch for the majority of the season, it’s also extremely likely that rookie Antoine Green will be available this week as a depth option.

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys

“(Peoples-Jones) has gotten better each and every week,” offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said on Thursday. “We’re very comfortable with where he’s at in the offense and his execution. Same thing with Antoine Green. If his number’s called, he’ll step up to the challenge and be in a great spot as well. So, yeah, if we have any concerns physically (with Williams), those guys normally aren’t out there and if they are out there, they’re full-go.”

After releasing Anthony Firkser on Thursday, Wright will miss his third straight game, leaving Detroit with just two tight ends on the roster. This week, the Lions could use a number of different substitution alternatives, or they could just go with two tight ends. They could, for instance, re-sign Firkser to the practice squad and use him as a sixth offensive lineman, raise fullback Jason Cabinda from the practice squad, or even employ him as a sixth offensive lineman if he clears waivers.

Houston will not be activated from injured reserve this week, and coach Dan Campbell seemed to suggest he faces an uphill battle to return for next week’s Wild Card playoff game as well. Houston is making progress but there is still work to be done.

Questionable

  • DT Benito Jones (illness)
  • DT Alm McNeill (IR, knee) — evaluation days remaining: 18
  • DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (IR, pectoral) — evaluation days remaining: 5

Jones is dealing with an illness but was able to return to a full practice on Friday and looks to be headed in the right direction to play on Sunday.

McNeill and Gardner-Johnson are both expected to be activated from injured reserve this weekend and available to play against the Vikings. The Lions have already cleared two roster spots— Isaiah Buggs and Firkser—in anticipation of their return.

Full practice

  • TE Sam LaPorta (ankle)
  • LT Taylor Decker (groin)
  • C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee)
  • RG Graham Glasgow (rest)
  • CB Cameron Sutton (toe)

LaPorta was practicing in full on Friday and will be in the starting lineup against the Vikings. The Lions starting offensive line has taken their appropriate rest days and appears good to go for Sunday. Sutton got in a complete week of full practices and is also ready to play.

Vikings injury designations

Ruled OUT

  • WR Jalen Nailor (concussion)
  • RT Brian O’Neill (ankle)
  • DL Jaquelin Roy (ankle)
  • CB Byron Murphy Jr (knee)
  • CB Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder)
  • S Theo Jackson (toe)

Questionable

  • LT Christian Darrisaw (illness)
  • OG Ed Ingram (shoulder)

Not listed with an injury designation

  • TE Nick Muse (knee)
  • S Harrison Smith (shoulder)

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