Visanthe Shiancoe (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe won’t be playing Saturday after a minor setback with his hamstring injury, and he had company on the injury list. Meanwhile, Bernard Berrian says the offense is ahead of schedule, Bryant McKinnie joins the Ravens and more.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe’s return from a hamstring injury will have to wait another week.
On Tuesday, Shiancoe tried to come back from the injury suffered in the first week of training camp, but he was sidelined again for Wednesday’s practice and will remain there for Saturday’s third preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
“He had a little bit of a setback yesterday and we just decided to hold him back a little bit and give him a chance to get a little better with his hamstring,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after Wednesday’s practice.
“It wasn’t a major setback. Just no reason to chance it where he could possibly be out of that first [regular-season] game. We’ll give him a chance just to get back to full speed so he can help our team.”
Shiancoe and receiver Percy Harvin were among the starters that didn’t play last Saturday in Seattle because of injuries, and the Vikings have yet to see Donovan McNabb operate the offense in a game with Shiancoe as one of his offensive weapons.
“You’d like to have him. You’d like to have all 11 guys in this particular game, but it’s an injury and the smart thing for us to do is to not press it and give him a chance to be ready when the real games start,” Frazier said. “We’ll just have to deal with it.”
In addition to Harvin, who returned this week from a rib injury, the Vikings will be getting one offensive starter back as Anthony Herrera is expected to make the start at right guard against Dallas, his first action since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament Nov. 21.
“We’re going to start him unless we have a setback tomorrow, but we’re anticipating starting him and giving him a chance to go out and compete so we’ll have an idea – can we get him to that first ballgame?” Frazier said.
Shiancoe was far from alone in sitting out Wednesday’s practice.
Linebacker Jasper Brinkley was an addition to the walking wounded, as he is dealing with a hip flexor that Frazier says dates back to the end of last season.
“We want to give him some time and get him ready for some things ahead, Frazier said. “It goes back to the end of our season a year ago. Of course, we weren’t around our players during the summer months or the spring, so we didn’t really have a chance to work with him. He’s going to be fine in time, but we’ve got to give him some rest.”
The Vikings were also without CB Asher Allen (toe),RB Toby Gerhart (ankle/Achilles), LB Ross Homan (concussion), LB Mark Washington (shoulder) and DT Kevin Williams (foot) for Wednesday’s practice.
Frazier said Gerhart had a magnetic resonance imaging test on the ankle and Achilles area and it showed no injury.
“Everything is fine. We’ve got to give him a little rest, so no injuries there,” Frazier said.
BERRIAN LIKE OFFENSIVE PROGRESS
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave wanted his offense mostly installed by this Saturday’s third preseason game.
Last week, Harvin said the base run and pass offense were already in place, and now there is another encouraging pronouncement for those looking for progress in the Vikings offense.
“The offense has been picking it up and we’re a lot farther ahead of schedule than we thought we would be actually,” receiver Bernard Berrian told Fox Sports Radio (via sportsradiointerviews.com). “There are not too many mistakes being made out there and that’s huge right now.”
There also haven’t been any touchdown passes through two preseason games, but Berrian says quarterback Donovan McNabb “has been doing great with the limited time we’ve had.”
Playing in four offensive series so far this preseason, McNabb has completed 12 of 19 passes for 121 yards and an 81.3 passer rating. As a team, the Vikings have thrown only one interception (coming from Joe Webb) and the quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 67.2.
After two seasons with Brett Favre – one that featured him throwing 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions and last year’s debacle with 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions – Berrian is hoping to rekindle the kind of season he had in 2008. In his first season with the Vikings, he had 48 catches for 964 yards. In the two seasons since, he has totaled 83 catches for 865 yards, including only 28 receptions last year.
“It was difficult for everybody. Not just me, the whole team it was difficult for,” Berrian said of last year’s season. “We didn’t play as well as we should’ve, period. That’s been the biggest focus this year in training camp and in the short time we’ve had leading up to the season.”
Berrian indicated that McNabb could be looking forward to a fresh start.
“I think he’s just happy. Players get put in bad situations sometimes and try to make the best of the situation they’re in,” Berrian said. “When they leave it’s almost like a fresh start. I’m pretty sure he’s excited and ready to get this season rolling.”
With injuries to linebackers Brinkley, Homan and Washington, the Vikings signed LB Kyle O’Donnell (Liberty) and released WR Dominique Johnson.
Former Vikings tackle Byrant McKinnie, who agreed to a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, joined the team on Wednesday after taking his physical. He was released by the Vikings during the first week of training camp after reportedly weighing close to 400 pounds. He was on the non-football injury list to start camp for the Vikings.
“I think it’s good for him. I think it should be good for the Ravens, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Frazier said Wednesday when asked about McKinnie.
If McKinnie doesn’t play against Washington Thursday night, his Baltimore debut could come against the Atlanta Falcons, where he would match up against former Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards.
The Vikings’ starters are expected to play at least a half Saturday.
The quarterback rotation after McNabb is still being determined, Frazier 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.