The Green Bay Packers announced their inactives list prior to their matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, and just as important as who is on this list, it’s also important to note who isn’t listed. Here is what you need to know and the potential impact on Sunday’s game.
WR Malik Heath
OT Caleb Jones
OLB Brenton Cox
CB Robert Rochell
S Zayne Anderson
From the sounds of it, Jaire Alexander was a true game-time decision. The plan was always to play, but it was dependent upon how he felt on Sunday going through warmups.
“Yeah, pretty much,” said Alexander on Friday. “Get moving around and see how everything feels. But that’s the plan.”
After missing the Denver game last week with the same back injury that has been plaguing him over the last month, Alexander was limited on Wednesday and Friday’s practices and sat out on Thursday.
“What I got going on is not like a regular type of thing,” added Alexander. “But I’m also not going to speak about it with y’all. It’s just something I’ve got to manage.”
With Alexander active, the recently signed Robert Rochell will be inactive for his first game as a Packer. Green Bay signed Rochell off the Carolina practice squad earlier in the week to bolster their cornerback depth. They also signed cornerback Corey Ballentine off the practice squad as well, who will provide added special teams depth.
Even without Justin Jefferson, the Packers have a tough matchup, trying to contain TJ Hockenson and big-play rookie Jordan Addison. This is a Minnesota passing game picking up steam behind Kirk Cousins. Creating consistent pressure up front is going to be a must for the Green Bay defense.
Also not listed is tight end Luke Musgrave, who suffered an ankle injury against Denver. Although Musgrave did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, he did return in a limited fashion on Friday, which may have come as a surprise to LaFleur.
“He ran around a little bit,” said LaFleur on Friday. “I was a little surprised to be honest with you. But he looked good.
“I think he’s super mature for a rookie. He’s one tough sucker now. I don’t think too many guys would be able to come back that quickly from what happened to him. That shows his toughness. His grit. He desire to want to be out there to help the team win. He’s a guy that we are going to keep trying to get the ball to. We’ve got to find ways to do that. To have him, if he’s available on Sunday would be a big plus for us.”
With De’Vondre Campbell back, the Packers will keep five inside linebackers active for Sunday’s game. Without Campbell, Kristian Welch had been elevated to the 53-man roster to provide special teams depth with Isaiah McDuffie having been a defensive starter the last few games. That means the Packers chose to make edge rusher Brenton Cox inactive. Green Bay will have only four active edge rushers against Minnesota, but even when available, Cox has played a very small role, seeing just three snaps last week. The Packers have mostly used a four-man rotation this season.
A key in this game for the Packers is going to be trying to contain Vikings’ tight end TJ Hockenson, who leads the team in targets. The majority of Hockenson’s receptions have come over the middle and within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, according to PFF, right where the Green Bay linebackers are.
Zayne Anderson was not listed with an injury designation this week but will still be inactive. He was signed prior to the season to be a core special teams player. With Darnell Savage on IR, Jonathan Owens will start next to Rudy Ford. My guess is that we could see Anthony Johnson playing in the box when the Packers are lined up in dime.
As has been the case over the last few games with the Packers gradually getting healthier, wide receiver Malik Heath and offensive tackle Caleb Jones are healthy scratches. With how active the tight ends and running backs are in the Green Bay passing game, along with how many two tight end and running back sets are utilized, having a sixth receiver active isn’t a necessity for the Packers. Jones, meanwhile, possesses a ton of upside, but is still very much a developmental player.