INDIANAPOLIS – Taking a look at weather reports for Minneapolis this weekend will offer about the same grimace as a gander at the Colts injury report.
Down four starters this weekend, the Colts should be thankful they are playing indoors on Sunday with a high temp of negative eight degrees forecasted in Minneapolis.
The Colts and Vikings will meet inside of new U.S. Bank Stadium in a game both teams have to have to (realistically) keep slim playoff hopes alive.
Here is the Friday notebook where we look at the offensive line shakeup for this weekend and the return of Robert Mathis:
INJURY STATUS FOR WEEK 15
- OUT: G-Denzelle Good (concussion): After practicing on Wednesday (in a non-contract jersey), Good did not practice the rest of the week. That means the Colts will be without both of their starting offensive guards this week---Good and Jack Mewhort.
- OUT: DT-Arthur Jones (groin): Jones wasn't on the injury report Wednesday. But a groin injury had Jones missing the final two days of practice. Jones has been a starter since returning from suspension and had an impressive eight tackles against the Texans.
- OUT: WR-Donte Moncrief (hamstring): The hamstring injury Moncrief suffered in last week's loss to the Texans kept him off the practice field all week. This will be Moncrief's sixth missed game of 2016.
- OUT: OT-Joe Reitz (back): Reitz missed all of practice this week. The Colts will be without a guy who would definitely start up front with Jack Mewhort now on IR.
- QUESTIONABLE: TE-Dwayne Allen (hip): Allen missed Wednesday's practice, was limited on Thursday and progressed to a full participant on Friday.
- QUESTIONABLE: WR-Jacoby Brissett (groin): It's never good when a receiver pops up on the injury report with a groin injury. But Dorsett was a full participant on Friday. Dorsett is this team's No. 2 receiver on Sunday.
- QUESTIONABLE: S-T.J. Green (ankle): Green wasn't on the injury report Wednesday. But a groin injury had Green limited on Thursday and working with the trainers on Friday. This is one to watch on game day.
- QUESTIONABLE: NT-Zach Kerr (concussion): We saw Kerr progress through the concussion protocol this week. Kerr was a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday. Kerr is needed this week with Arthur Jones ruled OUT. Chuck Pagano on what he's seen from rookie offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark, the expected starter at right tackle this weekend:
"Big, strong, athletic, easy mover, passionate guy, tough guy. Going to get a great opportunity."
Bowen's Analysis: Look for Le'Raven Clark to make his first NFL start on Sunday at right tackle. Clark has played six total offensive snaps as a rookie and has been a healthy inactive for eight games. But the Colts need Clark in a big way on Sunday. Clark did work next to Joe Haeg a good amount during the offseason, so that starting duo on Sunday has been a right tackle/right guard combo before, just not going up against a ferocious Minnesota front.
With three rookies starting on Sunday, plus Jonotthan Harrison (one career start at left guard), the Colts are going to have to adjust their game plan. Wide receivers, down Donte Moncrief, must win early in routes if the Colts want to achieve offensive success against the league's top scoring defense.Robert Mathis on his future:
"I still love the game, still have that fire. I still hate quarterbacks."
Bowen's Analysis: Let's start with the present. After missing the last two weeks, Robert Mathis returned to practice this week and is ready to go for Sunday afternoon. Watching Mathis in the background of the TV copy from Sunday's loss to the Texans and you saw how much it hurt No. 98 to not be playing in the team's most important game of 2016.
Now to the future. The 35-year-old Mathis is a free agent in 2017. He's given every indication that he wants to keep on playing into a 15th NFL season. If that's the case, the Colts will have a decision to make on if they want a veteran presence guiding an outside linebacker group that's likely going to be very young, with several new faces, next season.
*FINAL INJURY REPORT
Here is Friday's injury report:
-DNP: OG-Denzelle Good (concussion), S-T.J. Green (ankle), DT-Arthur Jones (groin), WR-Donte Moncrief (hamstring), OT-Joe Reitz (back), OLB-Erik Walden (rest)
-FULL: TE-Dwayne Allen (hip), WR-Phillip Dorsett (groin), WR-T.Y. Hilton (back), DT-Zach Kerr (concussion), QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder, elbow), OLB-Robert Mathis (bicep)*