Some Return, Some Leave

Fred Smoot

The Vikings had a starter leave practice Saturday while other starters and backups returned to action in the ever-shuffling injury report this year. Plus, get other notes from Saturday's practice.

Cornerback Fred Smoot did not participate in Saturday morning's practice after suffering a slight neck injury on Friday.

Coach Brad Childress said that during a one-on-one passing drill, Smoot ran into a receiver and injured his neck, and there was some irritation in the area Saturday morning.

"I think he'll be OK," Childress said. "You always err on the side of caution with neck injuries."

Childress compared the injury to one that kept receiver Marcus Robinson out of practice for two days earlier this week.

Smoot didn't acknowledge where he was injured, saying only "I'm good."

Childress said a decision on Smoot's availability for Monday's preseason game against Oakland will be determined later Saturday. Dovonte Edwards filled in for Smoot on Saturday and will start Monday if Smoot doesn't.

JOIN THE CLUB

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie took the practice field Saturday morning with his fractured left hand bandaged heavily, looking like a club about three times the size of his hand.

McKinnie said the training staff is experimenting with different soft casts to protect the injury, and he's not sure what he'll wear in games. "It's heavy, I get tired of carrying it around,' McKinnie said. "I'll get used to it."

Childress said that he's not concerned with McKinnie's ability to play with the cast, something that several players have worn during games. "You can't hold in this game, anyway," Childress quipped.

FASON IS BACK

Running back Ciatrick Fason was back in the goal-line drills, banging into defensive players just three days after suffering the first concussion of his career during a similar drill. On Wednesday, Fason had just taken the handoff when defensive end Erasmus James busted up the play and made helmet-to-helmet contact with Fason.

"Usually when I get hit hard, I bounce right back up," Fason said. "I'm still going to pound it in there because when you have fear, bad things happen."

NEW LOOK FOR GREENWAY

During a practice period in which the offense was backed up against its goal line, the defense showed a four-linebacker look that included starters E.J. Henderson, Napoleon Harris and Ben Leber, along with rookie Chad Greenway.

Childress said that defense was a special package to counter a three tight end look by the offense. When asked if he'd like to see that defensive package used more often, Childress said, "Not against four receivers."

NOTES

  • Former Vikings coach Bud Grant attended practice Saturday morning as part of Minnesota Momentum, a group working toward securing funding for a new Vikings stadium.

  • Offensive lineman Adam Goldberg turned 26 on Saturday, and he was concerned with what his teammates might have planned for later in the day. "There were a lot of weird smiles," he said.

  • Receivers Jason Carter and Aaron Hosack each made a long reception Saturday, and Childress said both will get plenty of opportunity in Monday's preseason opener against Oakland. "We'll see if one of them distinguishes himself," Childress said.

  • Receiver Koren Robinson hasn't taken many turns at returning kickoffs during recent practices, and Childress doesn't expect that to change during the preseason as he looks at other options. "He's a know entity," Childress said. "You know Koren can do it and do it at a Pro Bowl level.'


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