“He feels a lot better today. He didn’t practice, but he feels a lot better,” head coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday. “He was running around pretty so we’ll see how he does tomorrow.”
Greenway has attended both practices but has a plastic brace on his left hand. Last year, he played much of the season with a broken right wrist.
While Greenway was the only player held out completely from practice, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was added to the injury report with a chest injury. He practiced fully on Wednesday but was limited on Thursday. No further details were available, but he was out on the field for the end of practice.
Right tackle Phil Loadholt returned and practiced with an ailing ankle and the news on him was more encouraging than the Greenway situation.
“He practiced a little bit. He’s tough,” Zimmer said. “He’ll be alright.”
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd also returned to practice after not participating on Wednesday because of an injured shoulder.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen) and linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) remained limited on Thursday.
The Saints had four players that didn’t practice Thursday: RB Mark Ingram (hand), FB Erik Lorig (ankle), S Marcus Ball (hamstring) and LB David Hawthorne (ankle). None of them practiced Wednesday either.
C Jonathan Goodwin (elbow) returned to practice on a limited basis after being held out Wednesday, LB Curtis Lofton remained limited and LB Kyle Knox was added to the injury report with an ankle that limited his participation.
While Loadholt is dealing with an injury suffered Sunday, Matt Kalil has struggled some this year and it could be in part due to offseason knee surgery. But offensive coordinator Norv Turner said some of the problems Kalil had with New England Patriots pass rushers Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower were due the Vikings falling behind in the game, allowing the Patriots to anticipate pass more often.
“Here’s the deal. Again, I’ll go back to we’ve played two games,” Turner said when asked about Kalil. “We got ahead in a game, were ahead in the fourth quarter by over 20 points and we get three or four sacks (on defense) because they’re trying to get back in the game, they’re throwing the ball.
“When you get behind, and you get behind a team like New England and they’re not going to let you get back in it, then the pass rush becomes that much more difficult. Pass protection, pass rush, and you look at the teams that are year to year to year that are great in pass rush, they usually are in a lot of games where they get ahead and they can get themselves in that position. We’ve got to do a better job of protecting. We know that. We’ve got to get the ball out. There’s a lot of things we need to do to improve that situation.”
TOO MUCH FREELANCE
Zimmer alluded to the Vikings trying to do too much or simply being out of position earlier this week, but he offered a bit more insight on Thursday.
“Guys were trying to do their own thing so we’ve worked real hard this week about getting back to basics and understanding there’s times when you make plays in the game but the game has to come to you,” Zimmer said. “You can’t just go ahead and (say), ‘I’m going to go make a play now and I’m going to go freelance or I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that.’ I’ve talked to the team very hard this week about that.”
HALL OF FAME OPPORTUNITIES
Former Viking Mick Tingelhoff is the only seniors committee member on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot, which has 113 candidates (99 players, 14 coaches). The complete list includes first-year candidates that are St. Louis overkill – Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Other noteworthy first-year candidates include Junior Seau, Edgerrin James and Jason Elam.
Former Vikings other than Tingelhoff who made the first cut include Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Roger Craig, Herschel Walker, Joey Browner, Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson.
From the current list of 113 nominees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees that will be announced in late November. That semifinalist list will be further reduced and announced in early January.
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.