INDIANAPOLIS — Linebacker Anthony Barr became the latest Pro Bowl player the Vikings’ defense has lost.
Barr was lost with a shoulder injury in the 28-11 loss Sunday, Sept. 20, to Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. He had made four straight Pro Bowls until not being selected last season.
“We’ll evaluate him more (Monday),’’ said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
The Vikings already were playing without two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter, who is on injured reserve. And during the offseason they lost defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen and cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who all have made multiple Pro Bowls.
The Vikings also lost for part of Sunday’s game linebacker Troy Dye with an ankle injury. That led to Ryan Connelly, an Eden Prairie native picked up off waivers Sept. 6 from the New York Giants, making his Minnesota debut in the second quarter.
“We ran out of linebackers there for a little bit,’’ Zimmer said. “Troy Dye got hurt and so we were scrambling there for a little bit in the second quarter.’’
At least the Vikings had all-pro middle linebacker Eric Kendricks play the whole game. He led the team with 12 tackles.
Also hurt was running back Mike Boone, who did not return after suffering a concussion in the second quarter.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is a captain for the first time, but that doesn’t mean he’s about to sound off to his teammates.
In the ugly loss, Cook carried 14 times for 63 yards and scored Minnesota’s only touchdown on a 3-yard run to conclude the scoring with 5:20 left in the game.
“I always just be Dalvin,’’ Cook said. “I’m going to be me. And that’s why I became a captain on this team. It’s about being Dalvin. I’m not going to step out of character. I’m not going to do none of that. I’m going to let my hard work, the way I carry myself and how I do things speak for itself.’’
Cook, though, didn’t rule out eventually speaking up if the situation calls for it.
“If the situation needs to be spoke on then it will be spoke on,’’ he said. “But we’re all men, we all hold ourselves accountable in the locker room and the guys know that. So, me doing anything extra, that’s not me. I just want to be Dalvin and show the guys in here that we’re going to keep working, we’re going to keep fighting.’’
With rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler out with a rib injury, fellow rookie Jeff Gladney started in his place.
Gladney and Holton Hill started at outside cornerback and Mike Hughes got the nod at nickel back.
Gladney had an uneven game. He was third on the team with six tackles, but he had an illegal contact penalty that gave the Colts a first down on third-and-18 late in the first quarter and he got beaten on some throws by Colts quarterback Philip Rivers.
“Hard for me to say,’’ Zimmer said of Gladney’s performance. “I know he got beat on that one where Rivers held the ball for a while. I don’t know. He got an illegal contact (penalty). I’ll just have to look at it.”
With Pat Elflein having been put on injured reserve last Wednesday due to a thumb injury, second-year man Dru Samia started in his place at right guard.
Overall, it was a rough day for the offensive line. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was under pressure plenty. He was sacked three times, including in the second quarter by DeForest Bucker for a safety.
The Vikings were unable to mount much of a running attack. They ran for 80 yards on 18 carries.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had vowed to “spark” the defense after not having a single tackle in his Vikings debut in Week 1, a 43-34 loss to Green Bay. Ngakoue was much better Sunday, having three tackles, including a sack, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble. The Colts recovered the fumble in the third quarter after Ngakoue sacked Rivers.
Vikings rookies Ezra Cleveland at guard and D.J. Wonnum were both active for the first time and made their NFL debuts. Inactive for the Vikings were Dantzler, wide receiver Chad Beebe, tackle Oli Udoh, defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, defensive tackle James Lynch and cornerback Harrison Hand.
The Vikings dropped to 0-12 on the road against the Colts in their 60-year history. They went 0-8 when the franchise was in Baltimore and are 0-4 since it moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
Rhodes, who was released by the Vikings last March in a salary-related move and then signed with the Colts, had a pass defended against Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen in the second quarter. He had no other statistics in the game.