Percy Harvin (Kevin Brown/Viking Update)
While receiver Percy Harvin sat out much of the meaty part of practice on Tuesday, guard Anthony Herrera continued to increase his workload on his way back from a knee injury last year. Plus, the Vikings are tight on salary-cap space and several player performances from Saturday were reviewed by the coordinators.
Vikings receiver Percy Harvin left practice Tuesday about halfway through and stood on the sidelines the rest of the practice after receiving some attention from the training staff.
Harvin gave reporters the thumbs-up after practice, but declined to address his injury status.
Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he wasn’t sure what Harvin’s injury was and it could be a potential flare-up of the rib injury Harvin suffered last week during the Mankato portion of training camp.
“I’d have to check with Eric [Sugarman, head athletic trainer],” Musgrave said shortly after practice. “I don’t know if he still has his ribs bothering him, but we’ll check I’m sure in our post-practice report.”
Also sitting out Tuesday’s practice were tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring), linebacker Heath Farewell (hamstring), linebacker Kenny Onatolu (foot) and safety Simeon Castille (hamstring). Shiancoe and Castille ran up and down the sidelines for conditioning during the early part of practice.
“I did try to give Shank a hard time and remind him that we did draft a guy [Kyle Rudolph] in the second round and he’s not looking too bad,” Musgrave joked. “But Shank is coming back as fast as he can and we’re looking forward to getting him back, hopefully next week. If not next week, I’m sure he’s working like crazy to get out here and get with his teammates.”
Linebacker Jonathan Gilmore (unknown) also left practice and didn't return.
HERRERA INCREASING WORKLOAD
Guard Anthony Herrera returned to practice on Monday for the first time, but on Tuesday he increased his reps and worked in with the first-team offense on a rotational basis at right guard with Scott Kooistra. Herrera is returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered Nov. 21, 2010. Just last week head coach Leslie Frazier indicated that Herrera wasn’t close to returning.
On Tuesday, Musgrave said he wasn’t sure if Herrera would be able to contribute in Saturday’s second preseason game.
“I don’t know that we know at this point. We’ve still got a few days ’til Saturday, but so far so good the first couple days that he’s been out here,” Musgrave said.
“I think he looked good. I think he, like a lot of us, is just getting back into football shape. It’s definitely a process, though.”
Herrera was still on physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list for the preseason opener on Saturday. He started the first 10 games last year at right guard, but missed the final six after being placed on injured reserve.
Second-year player Chris DeGeare started in Herrera’s spot Saturday against the Titans, but has been practicing mostly at right tackle this week as the Vikings look at their options across the offensive line.
“I thought DeGeare, like the rest of our offensive line, did a good job,” Musgrave said. “At times, when we had pressure it wasn’t really due to the O-line, it was due to the timing of the quarterbacks and the receivers, not getting the ball when they should have. The O-line did a respectable job. They’ll look to improve on it, but it was a respectable job for them.”
VIKINGS TIGHT AGAINST THE CAP
The Vikings have less than a million dollars left in salary-cap space – $376,354.00 to be exact, according to NFL.com.
NFL teams had to be in compliance with the salary cap by the official start of the new league year. Because of the delay in getting a collective bargaining agreement ratified, that wasn’t until Aug. 4 this year. By releasing safety Madieu Williams and left tackle Bryant McKinnie and restructuring the contract of receiver Bernard Berrian, the Vikings were able to get under the cap by the deadline.
The Vikings took advantage of a special cap credit this year that gave teams the option for up to $3 million in additional cap room by taking up to $1 million off the cap charge for up to three players with five or more accrued seasons. That credit will drop to $1.5 million next year with a maximum of $500,000 per player. So, in essence, the salary cap is $123.375 million this year.
The cap is listed at $120.375 million, but that doesn’t include the special cap credits allowed this year. Only four teams have less than $1 million in cap space, according to the report.
The Bears have $19,342,968.00 in cap space, the Lions have $995,047.34, and the Packers have $12,736,997.00, according to NFL.com. On average, NFL teams have $11,053,871.70 in space, according to NFL.com.
Coordinator Fred Pagac on how his defense looked in Saturday’s opener: “Like we didn’t practice in the offseason. There was some change in tempo, we missed a few tackles, although the effort was pretty good and the responsibilities are pretty good.”
Pagac said he thought Erin Henderson, who is battling for the weakside linebacker position previously held by Ben Leber, “started off slow, picked it up as it went on and continued to play well. We expect Erin to be a good player.”
Jasper Brinkley was thought to be part of the competition for the open linebacker spot, but he hasn’t gotten much time with the first-team defense. “I hope Jasper wants to be as good as he can be, which means he has to work his butt off every day,” Pagac said. “He has been doing that. We don’t have a starting group yet. We don’t know what’s going to happen. Everybody is competing.”
Musgrave has been credited with developing the offense around players’ strengths, but it’s unclear if the Vikings will keep a true fullback on the roster or have tight ends Jim Kleinsasser or Jeff Dugan motion into the backfield when a lead blocker is necessary. Peterson has indicated in the past that he prefers not to have a fullback in front of him. “At times, we’ll get Adrian’s preferences, but I know that he just wants the football, period, and then we’ll do our job to make sure he has a clean slate and can do his thing,” Musgrave said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.