Bengals put Minter on IR, promote Bell

With all three starting linebackers injured and unavailable for Sunday’s game at Minnesota, the Cincinnati Bengals placed Kevin Minter on season-ending Injured Reserve and promoted linebacker Brandon Bell from the practice squad.

Minter played through a hamstring injury Sunday in the 33-7 loss to Chicago after missing four games earlier this season with an elbow injury.

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In addition to Vontaze Burfict (concussion) and Nick Vigil (ankle), the Bengals also will be without starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion) against the Vikings.

But running back Joe Mixon was a full participant at practice Friday for the first time since suffering a concussion Dec. 4 against Pittsburgh and is likely to play. The Bengals listed him as questionable, along with starting safety Shawn Williams (hamstring), which technically means the player has a 50 percent chance of playing.

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But nearly every player the Bengals have listed as questionable this season has played.

Williams, who has missed the last three games, also was a full participant Friday, as was Giovani Bernard, who was limited Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury. Bernard is not listed on the game status report, so he’s expected to play.

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Bell’s promotion from the practice squad means the college free agent is likely to make his NFL debut Sunday. A Penn State product, Bell appeared in all four preseason games and registered eight tackles with a sack and two passes defended.

The Bengals will go into the Vikings game with four healthy linebackers, three of whom are rookies. In addition to Bell, Jordan Evans and Hardy Nickerson will play alongside veteran Vinny Rey.

The Vikings will be without starting tight end Kyle Rudolph, whom the team listed as ‘doubtful’ with an ankle injury, but coach Mike Zimmer ruled out.

Also out are cornerback Mackensie Alexander (ribs) and tight end Blake Bell (shoulder), while starting tackle Riley Reiff (ankle) is doubtful.

Former Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (foot) is questionable.

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