Ballard leaves squad, others injured

Christian Ballard has been placed on the active/left squad list for "personal reasons," coach Leslie Frazier said. Others, like Sharrif Floyd, Matt Kalil and Jarius Wright were also held out of practice Sunday because of injuries.

Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard has been placed on the team's active/left squad list for "personal reasons," according to head coach Leslie Frazier.

Ballard, who played in every game in each of his first two seasons with the Vikings, was a reserve on the defensive line. He played in 33 percent of the team's defensive snaps last year, mainly as an interior rusher, and 45 percent of their special teams snaps.

Frazier said there is "no timetable" for Ballard's return to the team.

"We don't have to do anything at this point. Once we get to (cutting down to the regular-season roster) things change a little bit. But at this point, we're pretty good," Frazier said after Sunday's practice.

Ballard started the preseason opener for the Vikings as they held out starting defensive linemen Kevin Williams, Jared Allen and Brian Robison.

"Hopefully, things will work out for him. But he has some personal things he has to get taken care of. But that's where he'll be for now," Frazier said.

A fourth-round pick out of Iowa in 2011, Ballard had 12 tackles, including three for a loss, eight quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and four special teams tackles as a rookie. Last year, Ballard had 20 tackles, including two for a loss, one sack, 12 quarterback hurries and five tackles on special teams.

Frazier said the coaching staff was counting on Ballard for a rotational role on the defensive line again this year, but his designation over the weekend could change that.

"He's one of those guys we were counting on to be part of our rotation. He did a very good job for us a season ago. We're hoping he'll be able to help us this year as well," Frazier said. "He's one of those defensive tackles that we would like to have in the rotation."
Frazier said he and Ballard talked before the third-year pro left early last week, saying he was "well aware" of Ballard's situation.

With Ballard's return in question, Frazier said he wasn't sure when the 6-foot-4, 283-pounder would need to return to the team in order to be considered for the 53-man roster at the start of the regular season.

"I don't know, as we speak today, that I know when that is. I have to talk with him and get a better feel for where he'd be at that time, whenever that time is," Frazier said.

The Vikings are required to cut down to 75 players by Aug. 27 and again to 53 players by Aug. 31. They currently have 90 players on the roster.

The Vikings were without another defensive tackle, first-round draft pick Sharrif Floyd, on Sunday as well. Floyd played 37 defensive snaps in Friday night's second preseason game, the third most on the team. But he left the preseason opener because of a left knee injury and Frazier said it was the same knee giving Floyd a bit of a problem over the weekend.

"He was sore. So, yeah, same one he hurt the first preseason game, was a little banged up," Frazier said. "So they're going to take a look at it and I'll know more about that tomorrow as well."

Also missing practice time Sunday were Pro Bowl left tackle Matt Kalil (knee), wide receiver Jarius Wright (concussion), long snapper Cullen Loeffler (elbow) and Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton (knee).

Wright is going through the NFL's post-concussion protocol and might be able to return for Sunday's third preseason game at San Francisco.

"We think he should be fine over time," Frazier said.

Kalil is expected back at practice on Wednesday when the Vikings start preparing for the 49ers "in earnest," according to Frazier.


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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