Mistral Raymond's comeback from a partially dislocated ankle on Sept. 23 took a big step forward Sunday.
Raymond wasn't in the starting lineup, but he played almost as much as any other non-starter, getting 25 snaps, or playing in 40 percent of the defensive downs, in a rotation with starter Jamarca Sanford.
"I didn't have any issues, which was a good thing," Raymond said of his ankle injury Monday. "It held up real well, and I didn't have a single twitch or anything. So it was good."
After starting the first three games of the season, Raymond's foot was wrenched out of place when it got caught awkwardly while making a tackle against the San Francisco 49ers. It put him out of commission for the next six games. Sunday was his first time in a game since leaving Mall of America Field on a cart on Sept. 23.
He has been practicing with the team for a couple weeks and was considered a possibility for the Seattle game, but the Vikings decided another week of strengthening was best. He said his initial return to the field felt like old hat and the speed of the game didn't cause him any issues.
"Actually, it didn't. I had a few weeks of practice to try to get back in the groove of things. And once I got onto the field my adrenaline was really rushing and it just felt natural," he said.
Raymond entered the game for the Vikings' third defensive series and rotated series with Sanford for the rest of the game. Eventually, Raymond is expected to recapture his starting spot, head coach Leslie Frazier has said in the past.
"We definitely want to bring Mistral along, and the fact that he was able to get some time (Sunday) where he can get a little more confident about where he is with his foot and his ankle and also for us to see him on tape, that was a good sign," Frazier said Monday. "And now he'll have a full almost two weeks to really rest and heal and really reflect back on what he did (against the Lion). He'll be in line for more playing time; it's just a matter if we decide to put him back in the starting rotation."
As he was getting ready to go see family on the Vikings' bye week, Raymond didn't seem consumed with his future role and whether he gets back into the starting lineup when the Vikings travel to Chicago on Nov. 25.
"Just to get back on the grass, man, and have that opportunity to go out and make some plays, couldn't have asked for more," Raymond said. "Coaches made the decision to roll with the amount of reps they wanted to give me, and I just tried to make the best of it."
Raymond said there were no issues with the ankle, and the fact that he didn't have to stay in Minnesota for rehab was further proof of that. He ended up with one tackle (Sanford had two and a forced fumble) and the two of them split time on special-teams coverage units.
"There were some areas where I felt I could improve, some plays I think I should have made," Raymond said. "But, as a competitor, that's just natural. I'll continue to keep working."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Raymond satisfied with return to action
Viking Update Top Stories
VIDEO: Zimmer tired of talking about his eyeMinnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wasn't in the mood to discuss his ailing eye anymore, wanting to keep the focus on correcting mistakes and trying to beat Jacksonville.
Viking Update3:52 PM
VIDEO: Bradford on offensive strugglesMinnesota Vikings QB Sam Bradford talks about getting Mike Zimmer back and the offensive problems that have plagued the team.
Viking Update3:45 PM
Zimmer takes blame for ‘undisciplined’ teamThe Minnesota Vikings have cited “undisciplined” mistakes and penalties for their recent losses, but who speaks up on offense when needed?
Viking Update3:31 PM
Smith remains Vikings’ biggest injury concernThe Minnesota Vikings are healthier after their extended weekend off, but one big injury looms.
Viking Update1:13 PM