Vikings place four on injured reserve
By Jon Krawczynski
AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings placed receiver Michael Jenkins, long snapper Cullen Loeffler and safeties Husain Abdullah and Tyrell Johnson on injured reserve on Tuesday, ending the season for all four players and delivering a significant blow to a reeling team.
Jenkins has an as yet unspecified knee injury while Loeffler broke a bone in his lower back, Abdullah has a concussion and Johnson strained his right hamstring on Sunday in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The injuries sent the Vikings scrambling for healthy bodies heading into a game against Denver on Sunday, adding to the misery of a 2-9 season that has been short on highlights and long on injuries.
They signed receiver Stephen Burton, a seventh-round draft choice who was waived last week, long snapper Matt Katula and safeties Jarrad Page and Andrew Sendejo to fill the roster spots.
Abdullah started the first nine games of the season before going down with a concussion against Green Bay three weeks ago. Johnson filled in for him opposite Jamarca Sanford, but their injuries mean the Vikings have lost three of their four starters in the defensive backfield. Cornerback Antoine Winfield is on injured reserve with a broken collarbone.
Jenkins was in his first year with the Vikings after coming over from Atlanta in the offseason.
He caught 38 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns and developed an early chemistry with rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.
Loeffler is one of the valued members of the special teams, who signed a contract extension earlier this year.
Page was the biggest name of the new group of signings. The sixth-year pro intercepted 10 passes in his first three seasons in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs, played 10 games for the Patriots last season and was recently cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Katula spent five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and played last season with the New England Patriots.
The Vikings signed him so they didn't have to use star defensive end Jared Allen in the role and expose him to more risk of injury. Allen stepped in on Sunday against the Falcons and performed well in emergency duty.