Smith questionable, Greenway limited at best

Harrison Smith is officially listed as questionable but appears on pace to return to the starting lineup, but Chad Greenway’s role will be limited if he plays at all.

Safety Harrison Smith should play, despite being officially listed as questionable. Linebacker Chad Greenway’s role will be limited, if he plays at all, as he was listed as doubtful.

That was the upshot of the Minnesota Vikings’ injuries Friday as they head into their game Sunday against the Detroit Lions following a nine-day break from game action.

Smith sprained his left ankle in the Vikings’ 42-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 2 and had a walking boot on while using crutches to move around the day after that game. Smith practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and head coach Mike Zimmer remained confident he would play.

“I know that he’s a pretty tough guy and I know that he loves playing football,” Zimmer said Friday. “We’ll just see how he’s feeling.”

Greenway is more uncertain. He practiced Friday on a limited basis for the first time since the New Orleans game in Week 3.

“He did a little bit of work today so we’ll see how it goes, how he is tomorrow. He practiced a little bit,” Zimmer said on Friday.

“We’ll probably decide (Saturday), after we don’t have a press conference.”

Greenway said he is “always optimistic” and, asked if it was realistic to be optimistic he said, “I always live in the real life.”

While Greenway tried to keep his availability open-ended, Zimmer clarified what kind of role his most veteran defender would have if he does play.

“It probably wouldn’t be a full-time role. It would probably be a situational thing,” Zimmer said.

That means second-year pro Gerald Hodges is in line to make his third straight start.

“I think he’s had a good practice this week,” Zimmer said of the Penn State alumnus. “He’s kind of taken on the role a little bit more of being a little bit more of a leader and understanding his responsibility a little bit more. He’s a guy that you kind of have to keep your thumb on a little bit. I think this week it seems like he’s matured a little bit to me.”

Greenway played in all but the final eight snaps of the season-opening win against the St. Louis Rams, when the second-string defenders were inserted at the end of the blowout win. He played in every snap the following week, but missed 14 snaps in Week 3 as the three broken ribs became too debilitating.

“The pain is in the breathing, the lungs,” Greenway said of a workout on Thursday that involved throwing a medicine ball across the width of the field several times as part of his rehabilitation. “Just that I hadn’t done anything or pushed myself for a couple weeks. It’s been feeling really good and better and better and better every day. I feel good.”


  • In addition to Smith being listed as questionable and Greenway as doubtful, TE Kyle Rudolph was ruled out. That will likely be the case for at least a couple more weeks as he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

  • WR Cordarrelle Patterson returned to practice on a full-time basis Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday with a hip injury, as did DT Sharrif Floyd (elbow). Both are listed as probable, along with QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle), RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle), LB Michael Mauit (foot) and RB Matt Asiata (groin), who all practiced fully the entire week.

  • For Lions, WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is doubtful and RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is questionable. TE Joseph Fauria (ankle) and LB Travis Lewis (quadriceps) are out.

  • Safety Antone Exum was fined $22,050 for a blindside block during a Vikings punt return against the Packers on Oct. 2. Exum has a base salary of $420,000 and received a $114,788 signing bonus as part of his rookie deal, so that fine is significant for him.

  • Zimmer is looking forward to putting the Green Bay loss behind him.

    “It seems like it’s been a long time we’ve had this bad taste in our mouth from (Oct. 2),” he said on Friday. “I think it’s been a good week of practice. Guys are focused, they seem energized. We’re excited about the opportunity to face a good football team.”

  • The Vikings added another $517,977 to the new stadium budget for additional concession areas, another elevator, and enhanced skyway and press box design elements, according to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The stadium project is 23 percent complete, averages about 620 workers on site daily with $185 million of the work completed. Seventy percent of the main concourse has been poured.

    The largest piece of steel, the roof ridge truss, weighs 750,000 pounds and will be placed in mid-November.

    The MSFA also announced that it will contract with Fund Raisers, Ltd. to provide a fan recognition program and engraved paver program. Fund Raisers have partnered with over 40 professional and collegiate sport teams in fan recognition programs similar to the program contemplated for the new stadium.

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