When the Vikings signed free agent guard Geoff Schwartz, it was done with the intention of getting a starting-caliber right guard for the new-look Vikings offensive line. Schwartz, who became a full-time starter in Carolina in 2010, missed last season with a hip injury and, following yesterday’s practice, he complained of abdominal soreness that had Leslie Frazier and the medical staff taking the complaint seriously – sending him back to get a medical work-up in Minneapolis.
“We sent him back to the Twin Cities to get checked on an abdominal strain he has and also just to make sure there isn’t something else going on physically,” Frazier said. “We’ll see when we get the results back where things are, but we want to run some tests. I’ll know something a little more this afternoon.”
Schwartz missed the entire 2011 season with Carolina after suffering a right hip injury in last year’s training camp that required surgery and Frazier said that sending him back to the Twin Cities was a precaution to make sure that his current injury isn’t related to his recovery from the hip injury last year.
“That’s what we want to check out, if it’s anything related,” Frazier said. “He said he had trouble turning to his left. He couldn’t make any adjustments he needed to make when he turned in that direction. Obviously, for an offensive lineman, we want him to be able to turn in either direction with ease. He’s having trouble doing that, so we wanted him go back, get it checked out and find out what’s going on.”
With injuries not only to Schwartz, but to offensive linemen DeMarcus Love (shoulder) and Patrick Brown (knee), the Vikings are down to just 12 healthy offensive linemen. As a result, they may be looking to add some additional big bodies, because, given the amount of players that see time during the preseason games and the number of reps being done in practice, having 12 O-linemen simply isn’t enough. Friday morning Brandon Fusco took the first- and second-team reps at right guard – something Frazier didn’t anticipate happening for much longer.
“We’re going to bring in some guys to work out and take a look,” Frazier said. “You don’t want to get down to 11 or 10. We do have to bring in some guys. Rick (Spielman, the team’s general manger) and his staff are looking at some guys right now to try to bring in and work out.”
Frazier will know more about the condition of Schwartz later Friday and it is expected that at least one or two linemen will be added in the next day or two.
FRIDAY CAMP NOTES
The team will work on its two-minute offense and defense at the afternoon’s practice. Frazier said yesterday’s practice was to be the last full-squad live hitting before next week’s game with San Francisco, adding that tomorrow night’s evening scrimmage will include limited hitting only.
While training camp is a critical component of whether players on the bubble make the roster or get released, Frazier said that the body-of-work-fringe players have put in through the OTAs and minicamps, training camp and the preseason games will all have import as to whether a player stays or goes.
“It’s a combination of all of those,” Frazier said. “What they did back in the spring, what happens in training camp, what happens in the preseason games and what happens in practice. When you’re trying to make an evaluation on every player, it puts a premium on our being able to put them in positions – especially guys you’re not certain are going to make it or not – to show what they’re capable of doing. We don’t let a guy go who really could have helped our team in 2012. There is a lot that goes into this process as you try to narrow down this 53-man roster.”
Twice during his Friday press conference, Frazier referred to next Friday’s preseason opener with San Francisco as “a scrimmage,” which makes one think that winning or losing that game won’t be important. More important will be how the team executes and how specific players perform rather than what the final score is.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.