Notebook: Some Wounded Working Back

Bernard Berrian (Tom Olmscheid/AP)

The Vikings have several players working their way back from injury in hopes of playing Saturday. For some, that could happen; for others, it's a long shot.

Last Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens sat 18 players against Minnesota. The Vikings aren't in danger of besting that mark this Saturday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there are a number of players who are trying to work their way back from various injuries.

Wide receiver Bernard Berrian is trying to overcome a case of turf toe, which he reinjured last weekend after struggling his way through the injury last year with the Chicago Bears. For him, the best prognosis could be to rest the toe and hope it heals.

"He worked some. It's tender. He'll mix the treatment with the football and do what he can do," head coach Brad Childress said Tuesday.

The Vikings' other starting wide receiver, Sidney Rice, likely will be over the virus he has been fighting early in the week. He was held out of practices on Monday and Tuesday, but that appears to be more precautionary than anything.

"He's dehydrated. No sense in bringing him out here in this heat. We'll have to see how he continues on," Childress said.

Tight end Garrett Mills, who made a splash with his regular-season debut for the Vikings in last year's season finale at Denver with two catches after being inactive for the first 15 games, isn't making a quick return to the field. How has he been progressing while trying to come back from a sprained ankle?

"Not as fast as he would like," Childress said. "He's had about every test that we know of and the doctors know of. He's uncomfortable with sticking it in the ground and breaking. The straight-ahead stuff is OK. It's not a deal where two weeks rest would make a difference. We've tried the three or four days rest. He went and saw a specialist again today. We feel like we're treating it right, it's just a matter of it settling down. Everybody heals different."

Defensive end Brian Robison has been making progress in his comeback from have a varicose vein repaired earlier in training camp. Childress said Robison worked out on Monday doing stops and starts, and on Tuesday his comeback progressed to doing handwork and footwork drills with defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.

Robison said he doesn't expect to play this weekend, but he hopes to return to a more extensive practice routine next week and possibly play in the preseason finale at Dallas. That would be a welcome sight for a defensive line that has lost Kenechi Udeze for the season while he gets treatment for leukemia and Kenderick Allen to wrist injury.

Safety Madieu Williams is expected to miss a few more games while he recovers from a neck injury, but offensive tackle Drew Radovich has begun working his way back into some portions of practice.

The Vikings currently have four players on the season-ending injured-reserve list: LB Heath Farwell, DE Jayme Mitchell, DT Kenderick Allen and G Mike Jones.


Childress had some fun with reporters on Tuesday when he received a fax addressed to public relations director Bob Hagan from a freelance writer in Upper Saddle River, N.J., who saw a comment Childress made during training camp. At the time, Childress was taking issue with his 2008 version of camp being portrayed as "soft" in media reports. Childress challenged reporters to sign a waiver and put on pads and see if they still viewed practice as soft.

Alexander Alperin responded that he is willing to take that challenge and write about it.

"The only problem is, he's a freelance journalist and this fax comes from the Adorable Supply Company, so I don't know what to make of that exactly," Childress joked. "He would definitely have to sign a waiver if we do it."


The Vikings have been forced to start rookie safety Tyrell Johnson alongside Darren Sharper. Childress said it's not his first preference to start a rookie, but he said he's pleased with the way Johnson has progressed.

"I think he's generally not going to make the same mistake twice. He had a couple of first-time happenings the other night where he kind of got walled inside when he was down in the box," Childress said. "He's a quick study, too. He's sharp. He's up to speed on what's happening in the playbook. His see-to-do is very quick, and obviously he has good range and will strike you. I mentioned before, he's the guy who had the touchdown-saving tackle on that 45-yard run. All you're trying to do is get him on the ground and change the angle at that point. He's done that on a few different occasions."

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Sharper has to communicate more with a rookie starting next to him, but he doesn't believe it affects Sharper's game (he did have an interception and a bit hit on another play last Saturday against Baltimore).

"I'd dread to think what it would be like to have Tyrell and another rookie there with what we have ahead of us. It just means so much to us to have Sharper in our secondary with all of the experience that he has, plus the experience he has in this scheme," Frazier said. "So it's putting a little bit more on him because he has to communicate more than he had to when Madieu (Williams) was here or when he was with another safety, but he's handled it very well. Hopefully it won't take away from his game because we're asking him to do a little bit more from a verbal communication standpoint.


  • The Vikings will work on nickel, goal-line and short-yardage situations on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he has been pleased with the conditioning of his first-team defenders, who likely will play into the second half on Saturday against Pittsburgh. The Vikings don't put in a full game plan for the preseason games, so Frazier said most of the analyzing is for personnel.

    "You evaluate more personnel and other factors. Are you tackling well? Are you running to the football? Are you playing at the tempo that you want your defense to play at? Are they understanding situations? You're evaluating different things at this time of year," he said.

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