Linval Joseph might be the only defensive starter to miss time as he recovers from a gunshot wound to the calf suffered hours after the preseason opener, but several other players missed time this week in preparation for the third preseason game.
Linebacker Chad Greenway’s right wrist continues to give him problems, but he was back fully participating in Thursday’s practice after sitting out full-team work on Wednesday. He has been practicing with a soft brace on the wrist, the same one that was broken last year as he played through the injury.
He isn’t the only starter trying to play through injury. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was in and out of practice Wednesday and Thursday with a strained groin, one that caused head coach Mike Zimmer to wish he had given Rhodes more time off this week. Twice during Thursday’s practice Rhodes left the field gingerly and was replaced by Shaun Prater.
The status of Rhodes and Greenway for Saturday’s game aren’t known, but defensive coordinator George Edwards has seen progress in Rhodes’ skills.
“That’s the one thing that we strive for every day that we are out here, is that consistency,” Edwards said. “That’s the one thing that Coach (Jerry) Gray and Coach Zimmer are trying to get in the secondary and trying to work, where we come out here every day and we know exactly what we are doing – technique, fundamental-wise and where we want to be as far as location in different coverages on receivers. That’s a big part of it. You see flashes of a player doing something; you just want to keep continuing to work to be consistent day in and day out.”
Prater, too, missed some practice time earlier in the week with what Zimmer termed a “mild concussion” in last Saturday’s game, but he didn’t appear to be limited Wednesday and Thursday, which is a good sign as he tries to show he belongs on the final 53-man roster.
The secondary could also see the return of cornerback Josh Robinson, who hasn’t gotten time in the first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury.
“He did a good job yesterday when we were going through the drills, looking at him on the tape as far as the position that we’re asking him to be in and those kind of things,” Edwards said. “It’s just a matter again of getting him out here consistently, getting him with the group.”
The Vikings are likely to be without rookie cornerback Jabari Price (arm/shoulder) and linebackers Gerald Hodges (leg) and Brandon Watts (leg) on defense and Adrian Peterson (coach’s decision) on Saturday as they face the Kansas City Chiefs.
Peterson missed his second straight day of practice for personal reasons, but he is expected to attend the game against the Chiefs (but not play) on Saturday. Zimmer said earlier this week that Peterson likely wouldn’t play at all in the preseason as they save wear and tear on their star running back.
THURSDAY P.M. NOTES
“That doesn’t mean a whole lot when you miss a couple of field goals, but he’s striking the ball, he’s hitting the ball well,” Priefer said. “We’re working on a little bit part of the follow through and I think we’ll tweak that and he’ll be just fine.”
Walsh is 4 for 6 on field goals this preseason, but the two misses have come from more than 50 yards. He has also missed an extra point.
“He’s a knowledgeable coach, he’s been very successful, he’s been in this league a long time,” Priefer said of Marciano. “We’re trading ideas as we’re game-planning for these first two ballgames, three ballgames.”
“Size, speed, strength, he’s got great quickness and, like a lot of the great returners in this league, he’s got great vision,” Priefer said. “I’ve coached some guys that have the size and speed before and didn’t have good vision, they just kind of ran into blocks and stuff, but he has an innate ability to see things right before they happen and he’s very good at that.”
Greenway didn’t receive high marks from former punter Greg Coleman, who attended practice. He judged Greenway’s punting form as fair. “Toe wasn’t pointed down, no follow-through,” Coleman joked.
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.