Brad Childress announced Thursday that three of his players – Bryant McKinnie, Billy McMullen and Erasmus James – will be starting Childress' second training camp at the helm on the physically unable to perform list.
McKinnie, the left tackle, and McMullen, the wide receiver, are unexpected entries on the PUP list, as they reported to camp with muscle strains to the lower extremities (Childress didn't want to be more specific than that). Neither player showed any signs of any long-term injuries during organized team activities earlier in the summer. Players can be taken off the PUP at any time during training camp.
"His weight was great, made his target weight, and was having a good summer, but I don't think that it's something right now that I want to stick him out there, let him practice, then strain a muscle further and then be set back," Childress said of McKinnie. "That can be day-to-day. I don't have a timetable on that. I just go with what the trainers have to tell me about where they think he is at."
Last year, defensive tackle Pat Williams started training camp on the PUP list when the team determined that he wasn't in good enough condition.
In McKinnie's stead, Artis Hicks will play left tackle and Anthony Herrera will get more time at Hicks' usual spot as the starting right guard.
"(Hicks) is familiar with (right tackle); he's been in a left-handed stance before," Childress said.
James wasn't expected to open training camp at 100 percent, as he is still recovering from two surgeries following a torn ACL in the second game of the 2007 season. Childress said there is no timetable for James to return to full-contact practices.
"We just want to see how he proceeds. He is in good condition and he is able to pass this phase of the conditioning test, but I really don't feel like he's ready and I don't think he does either for the live, hands-on, physical nature. He'll do his work on the side," Childress said.
On the positive side of the Vikings' injury front, linebacker Chad Greenway is expected to open camp without an issue remaining from his torn ACL, which occurred in last season's preseason opener.
"He has come back and really shown no ill effects from that surgery. He came in here and he is down in weight, which I always encourage those guys to come in ready to run," Childress said. "They all did a great job running. They all end up picking up a few pounds as they get out of these two-a-day practices, but you better not have an extra sack of potatoes on your back that you are dragging around here for three weeks because it makes life tough."
Safeties Mike Doss and Tank Williams, who will be vying for a starting safety job with Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith, are also expected to practice without hindrance as they recover from 2006 season-ending injuries to their knees.
Childress said 55 players went through the pre-camp conditioning test before arriving in Mankato and 34 players did the test this morning. The test consists of 16 timed "half-gassers" running from sideline to sideline and back.
"I gave them an opportunity to get it done early so they didn't have to do it (Thursday) before we start two-a-days tomorrow and they can save their legs," Childress said.
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