EAGAN, Minn. -- The Vikings are expected to get back one of their top receivers for Sunday’s game, but they will be without one of their better runners.
Minnesota did not list Adam Thielen on the injury report Friday, and he is on track to return against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Thielen has missed four straight games and five of the past six with a hamstring injury.
The Vikings ruled out running back Alexander Mattison (ankle) and safety Jayron Kearse (toe). Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and wide receiver Bisi Johnson (quad) were listed as questionable.
Mattison, a rookie from Boise State, has 462 yards rushing as the backup to Dalvin Cook. But Cook has full confidence in second-year player Mike Boone taking his place.
“I’m expecting big things from Boone, and he knows that, so he’s been locked into the game plan,” Cook said. “He’s ready to go, no doubt about it. … I’m ready to see him light it up. … (Boone) coming in and trying to spell me, he brings that same thing to the table, so there’s no drop-off.”
Boone, who has just eight rushes for 41 yards this season, is ready.
“I’m praying for a speedy recovery for Alex but it’s football, that’s how it is. It’s next guy,” he said. “I’m just doing everything I can to make sure I’m prepared when my number is called.”
The 5-foot-10, 206-pound Boon isn’t as burly as the 5-11, 220-pound Mattison, but he’s confident he still can get tough yards on short-yardage situations.
Boone made the team last year as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, and had 11 carries for 47 yards. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski have talked about the progress he has made in his second season.
“He’s been terrific all year as far as in practice and preseason games,” Zimmer said. “I thought he ran hard last week. He’s done a nice job.”
In last week’s 20-7 victory over Detroit, Boone had five carries for 13 yards.
Boone said one of the areas he has improved the most in has been pass protection.
“I focus on that,” he said. “I try to take (running back coach Kennedy Polamalu’s) coaching points to the next level and try to grow in that area.”
The Vikings also have Ameer Abdullah at running back. Like Boone, he has eight carries for 41 yards this season.
At receiver, the Vikings will try to get through a full game with Thielen for the first time since Week 6. Thielen initially was hurt in the first quarter in Week 7 on Oct. 20 at Detroit.
He tried to return in Week 9, on Nov. 3 at Kansas City, but aggravated the injury and left in the first quarter. He has acknowledged he tried to come back too soon.
Thielen practiced all week on a limited basis. Asked how he looked, Zimmer said, “Good.”
The Vikings will face a very healthy team. The only player the Chargers listed on Friday’s injury report was linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, who is questionable with an ankle injury.
McDaniel named to NFL All-Time Team
Former Vikings guard Randall McDaniel was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. A decade later, he has landed another big honor.
McDaniel was named Friday to the NFL 100 All-Time Team. In conjunction with the NFL’s 100th anniversary, the league is announcing throughout the latter part of the regular season 100 players and 10 coaches on the team.
McDaniel played for the Vikings from 1988-1999 before concluding his career with Tampa Bay from 2000-01. He made 11 of his 12 Pro Bowls and had all seven of his all-pro selections with Minnesota.
McDaniel becomes the third longtime former Vikings player to be named to the team. Two weeks ago, defensive tackles Alan Page and John Randle were announced.