Anthony Herrera (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Vikings guard Anthony Herrera isn’t close to returning to practice, according to head coach Leslie Frazier, and the Vikings may have to make a determination on his availability in a few weeks. Plus, Frazier talked about playing time for the starters and more.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is still trying to decide how much playing time his starters will get in Saturday’s preseason opener, but guard Anthony Herrera won’t be playing at all.
Herrera is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered Nov. 21 last year.
“We’ll probably have to make a decision after that third preseason game what direction we want to go, whether or not we want to try to play him or just put him on PUP [physically unable to perform], but we’ll see how he progresses,” Frazier said.
Herrera is still doing conditioning as part of his rehabilitation, but he has been on the PUP list since the start of training camp. During training camp, a player can come off the PUP list whenever he is ready, but once a player starts the regular season on the PUP, he isn’t eligible to play for six weeks.
The Vikings also have a couple potential starters whose status is still undetermined for Saturday’s game at Tennessee.
Tyrell Johnson, who entered camp in a competition for a starting spot at safety, suffered a hamstring injury last week and hasn’t practiced at all this week. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe suffered his hamstring injury after catching a pass from Donovan McNabb in Monday’s practice.
Head coach Leslie Frazier classified their injuries as “mild.”
“They both should be fine. Tyrell may be [will] practice a little tomorrow. Visanthe, his is a little [more recent] than Tyrell’s, so probably give him another day or so,” Frazier said. “But Tyrell, I think he’s going to give it a try tomorrow, see how it feels.”
Frazier said they would be “very cautious” with Shiancoe.
Healthy starters aren’t expected to get much playing time Saturday night, either. The coaching staff will discuss playing time Tuesday night and has a set number of plays they want to get their starters. However, they aren’t expected to go above the normal protocol for Week 1 of the preseason, despite a new offense.
“I don’t think so. We want to get Donovan and some of the guys some rest, but at the same time we’ve got three games after this one,” Frazier said. “We want to get the timing down, but I think we have enough to get the legs under them a little bit, but we don’t have to play a half or play two quarters or play a quarter and a half right now. We’ve got time.”
The offense has looked uneven throughout the first eight days of training camp, but Frazier isn’t pushing the panic button.
“We’d like for it to come together on Sept. 11 at … whatever time we’re playing that game,” Frazier said. “We’d be very pleased if it happened on that day. 3 p.m. Central? Doesn’t have to happen any sooner than that and I’ll be satisfied. I think we all would be satisfied.”
Frazier said it was cornerback Marcell Gipson’s decision to leave the team after the death of his grandmother and didn’t rule out giving him another shot on the roster. “It was his choice to not come back. He has some things going on with his personal life, losing a [grandparent],” Frazier said. “He felt like he needed to stay home, get a job and take care of his family. I respect that. But it gives us a chance if he changes his mind, we can sign him again and maybe be on our practice squad or whatever if we’re interested in doing that. … This gives us some flexibility if he changes his mind and says, ‘You know what, coach? I kind of want to come back and try pro football again.’ We’d have a chance in 2011.”
Despite the hamstring injuries (in addition to Johnson and Shiancoe, safety Simeon Castille is included on that list), Frazier said the mild weather has helped the Vikings avoid more serious hamstring and groin injuries. “We’ve been able to keep guys hydrated and not lost some guys because of heat,” he said.
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced the signing of former Vikings QB Todd Bouman.
According to ESPN, the Rams signed former Vikings LB Ben Leber to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.
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