The Rams began their official preparation week for the Vikings on Wednesday afternoon at Cal Lutheran. After a commanding victory at the Coliseum last weekend, Los Angeles will look for its fifth consecutive win in Week 11 as the club travels to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
L.A. released its injury report on Wednesday after practice. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, linebacker Mark Barron, and center John Sullivan were given their typical rest days on Wednesday and did not participate in the session.
But aside from the non-injury related absences listed above, the Rams injury report was a lot more extensive than it has been this season. The team was without outside linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (hip), outside linebacker Matt Longacre (back), running back Malcolm Brown (knee), tight end Derek Carrier (hamstring), cornerback Troy Hill (hamstring), and left guard Rodger Saffold (ankle).
Rounding out the team's injury report was outside linebacker Robert Quinn who was limited in the afternoon session with an illness.
Head coach Sean McVay said at this point in the season, injuries become more commonplace across the board. As such, the staff has made a point to "be smart with our guys — trimming off some of the reps," and taking "a much more above-the-neck emphasis."
And while the list may seem longer than normal, McVay expects many of the players to participate in Sunday's contest.
Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams practice as the team prepares to take on the Minnesota Vikings.
"[We] want to make sure that we do a good job of just being smart with the week [and] getting a good week of preparation, but also being mindful of getting these guys as healthy as possible," he said. "It sounds like a long list, but I think a lot of those guys will be good to go for the game. It's just more precautionary and being smart."
FACING A FORMER QB
This week, the Rams will face former quarterback Case Keenum, who was named the Vikings' starting quarterback for Sunday's contest. Keenum spent the last two years with the Rams — and parts of the 2014 season with the club as well — before signing with Minnesota in early April. The Houston product started the first nine games of 2016 for Los Angeles, completing 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,201 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
While some might find it a bit strange to line up against a quarterback you shared a locker room with just one season ago, that was not the case for many Rams players.
"It'll be fun," quarterback Jared Goff said. "Just to get a chance to say hi to him and see how he's doing. There's not a guy that you could be more happy for. Really, for everything he's gone through — to get to this point of Minnesota playing well, winning and doing everything he's been doing there. He deserves it all."
"There's no weirdness," right guard Jamon Brown said. "When a guy leaves the team and goes to another team, we wish him the best. And one thing Case has done is he's had some success over there with the Vikings."
Specifically, Keenum has led Minnesota to a five-game win streak. In last weekend's contest against the Redskins, the signal caller threw for a career-high 304 yards and four touchdowns. Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree — who was a team captain with Keenum last season — said he was happy for his former quarterback, saying "he's doing a tremendous job over there [and] he's just been balling out."
"He got his opportunity to play up there and he's taking advantage of it," he said. "So for us, it just comes down to the same thing every week — just trying to put pressure on the quarterback and win our matchups."
And though Keenum will be playing against several of his former teammates on Sunday, don't expect them to go easy on him. In Week 12, defensive tackle Aaron Donald said the team won't see Keenum as a friend, but as an opponent.
"It's going to be good to see him again, but we're going to get after him," Donald said. "He's a tough guy, a good quarterback and we'll try to put some pressure on him."
MINOR ROSTER MOVES
On Wednesday, the Rams made a few minor moves to their roster. The team signed offensive linemen Jake Eldrenkamp (Washington) and Jeremiah Poutasi (Utah) to its practice squad, while it placed wide receiver Paul McRoberts (Southeast Missouri State) on the Practice Squad/Injured list.