Injuries taking toll on Schwartz, O-line

Injuries were stacking up on the offensive line, causing the Vikings to sign a guard and potentially leaving them without a top backup for some time.

It didn't take long for Leslie Frazier's concerns to become a reality.

After Friday morning's practice, Frazier was asked about the injuries along the offensive line. "You don't want to get down to 11 or 10 (players)," he said. "We do have to bring in some guys."

During the afternoon practice, offensive tackle Kevin Murphy, signed just before the start of training camp, was taken to the hospital by ambulance with heat-related issues, leaving the Vikings with only 11 offensive linemen.

A short time later, the severity of Geoff Schwartz's abdominal pain was also diagnosed as a sports hernia. That will likely keep him out of action for at least a month. Schwartz was the main competition for Brandon Fusco to earn the starting right guard spot previously occupied by Anthony Herrera.

Schwartz missed both practices Friday when he returned to the Twin Cities to have his abdominal pain evaluated. He missed all of the 2011 season with the Carolina Panthers after a preseason hip injury forced him to have surgery.

Schwartz had just started working his way back into a full routine from the hip injury, declaring himself 100 percent, when the abdominal pain started.

"He said he had trouble turning to his left," Frazier said. "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."

Two of the Vikings' top backups at tackle, DeMarcus Love (shoulder) and Pat Brown (knee), continued to stay out of practices on Friday with their injuries suffered this week. Brown is expected to be back next week. It's unknown how long Love will be out.

All of the injuries caused the Vikings to work out two offensive linemen. They settled on signing book of them -- rookie guards Grant Cook, who was with the Green Bay Packers this offseason, and Bridger Buche, late of the Pittsburgh Steelers. To make room for the offensive linemen, the Vikings waived DE Eric Latimore and receiver AJ Love.

In addition to the injuries on the offensive line, running back Jordan Todman has a sprained ankle that is considered minor and tight end John Carlson is expected to be out for about two weeks with a sprained MCL.

Thursday's afternoon practice was the final live tackling until the Vikings' preseason game on Friday. Their intra-squad scrimmage at 7 p.m. tonight will feature full pads – the sixth straight day of that – and live blocking on the offensive and defensive lines but no tackling to the ground.


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.


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