Vikings patient with returning defenders

Desmond Bishop (Kevin Brown/Viking Update)

The Vikings are starting to get some of their injured defenders back at practice, but the team is taking a patient preseason approach with them.

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said he expected first-round defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), veteran linebacker Desmond Bishop (groin) and second-year linebacker Audie Cole (ankle) would all practice to some degree Monday afternoon.

How much practice? He wasn't sure on that front, but the team isn't rushing players back at this point.

Williams said having Floyd and Cole out on Sunday was "just precautionary" and expects some level of participation from them Monday.

"We have time on our side. We have three weeks left. No reason to beat the guys up now," Williams said. "I expect them to practice today. I'm not quite sure how much they'll practice, but they'll be out and suited up."

Cole played 35 snaps Friday night in the preseason opener, tied for the highest among the linebackers, but he sat out Sunday's practice with an ankle injury.

Floyd played 15 snaps Friday night before a knee injury required medical staff's attention on the field and ended his night. Swelling on Sunday morning prompted the team to hold him out of that practice.

Bishop didn't play at all in his first game with the Vikings, as the team wanted to give his sore groin more rest, but he did resume practicing on Sunday.

"Of course the guys are calling him ‘Fresh Legs' since he's been out for a little bit. He moved around and had some good run fits in 9-on-7 and some of the team runs," Williams said of Bishop in Sunday's practice. "It looks like he hadn't missed a beat. I would expect that with a veteran such as him – a little bit of time off did not hurt him in any means."

It's unclear yet if Bishop will play this Friday night at Buffalo, but Williams said the team isn't interest in pushing player back too soon.

"I know there will still be some rust on him in terms of live football, but we still have three weeks to go in time, so time is on our side in that respect," Williams said. "I'm not going to put any undue pressure on him. Just let him compete, and he's doing that. He's a professional. He comes to the meetings, he sits up front, he asks good questions out on the football field. He's attentive, whether he's in or out. I'm just going to wait and see what he does, which is play good football."

Rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes has also returned to practice after a hamstring injury limited him for much of last week and kept him out of the preseason opener.

Williams said it's important for young players to learn the limits of their bodies.

"With anyone, I tell the guys to start to get know your body so that you're telling people how you feel rather than someone else telling you how you should feel and what you should do," the defensive coordinator said. "So get to know your body. Another thing is, as you start to become a professional, know how to practice when you're not 100 percent."

NOTES

  • Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said there were no issues with any of the holds from rookie punter Jeff Locke during Blair Walsh's two field goals Friday night. Walsh was 2-for-2, hitting from 22 and 33 yards.

  • Locke also did an "outstanding" job in pinning the Texans deep after the Vikings had gotten near or crossed midfield. However, Priefer admitted that Locke's final two punts weren't very good. Locke averaged 39.2 yards with a long of 48 yards on five punts and pinned the Texans inside the 20-yard line twice.

  • Priefer said 41 Vikings played in the core four phases of special teams, giving him plenty of player evaluations from the opener.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson's 50-yard kickoff return to open the game was nearly returned for a touchdown. "It was real close," Priefer said, noting that Patterson tripped himself up trying to make a move as much as he was tackled. "… It was real, real close to a touchdown."


    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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