EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- The unbeaten Minnesota Vikings even have their timing down on injuries.
Bryce Paup is going on injured reserve just as fellow defensive end Gabe Northern is coming off the list.
The signings of Northern in September and Roy Barker two weeks ago seem prescient. Barker, who can play inside, has worked himself into playing shape just in time to join the rotation.
"You just want to make sure you have enough players," coach Dennis Green said. "At the time, we were working on a six-man rotation and that's not enough for us.
"We knew we were going to need that help down the road. We're facing a difficult stretch. You just want to make sure you have enough firepower to get through that. I think this gives us that."
Northern was released by the Buffalo Bills, the Vikings' opponent Sunday at the Metrodome.
"I feel good about playing against my old teammates," said Northern, who was on the injured list because of a pulled hamstring muscle. "I want to show them what's up with the Vikings and show them they should have kept me."
Northern has the Vikings' scouting report on Doug Flutie, who takes over at quarterback because of Rob Johnson's separated shoulder.
"You can't just go as fast as you would a regular dropback quarterback," said Northern, who also can play linebacker. "You have to contain him as best you can."
The Vikings (6-0) were practically injury-free before an MRI showed a fracture in Paup's right knee. Until then, a knee injury that kept offensive guard Corbin Lacina out of training camp, but forced him to miss only one regular-season game, was the team's most significant injury.
Paup's knee was injured in the first quarter of a 28-16 victory over the Chicago Bears last Sunday, but he continued to play until the fourth quarter.
Paup, who had one sack among seven tackles this season, is expected to be out about six weeks. The injury is not expected to require surgery.
"His numbers were modest," defensive line coach Fred von Appen said, "but his contribution was pretty extensive."
Paup primarily played when the Vikings went to a three-man line and in passing situations. That role will be filled by John Burrough, who was starting at left end until John Randle was moved there from tackle two weeks ago to make room for rookie Chris Hovan. Tony Williams starts at tackle and Talance Sawyer at end.
Northern, Barker and rookie tackle Fred Robbins will be essential as fill-ins because of Green's preference for small, quick linemen who need to be rotated in and out of games.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.