Five starters remain out of Vikings practice

The Vikings were missing four starters last Sunday, and for Thursday's session they had five starters not practicing for the second straight day.

The Minnesota Vikings were without five starters for the second practice in a row Thursday as they prepared for the Miami Dolphins.

On offense, tight end Kyle Rudolph remained out with knee and ankle injuries, likely sustained when he was rolled up from behind during a play in Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions.

Guard Charlie Johnson, who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, was also working on the side as the Vikings practiced Thursday.

On defense, rookie linebacker Anthony Barr, who has been inactive for the past two games with a knee injury, was also sitting out of Thursday’s practice. Barr had led the Vikings in tackles before getting hurt in the Carolina Panthers game. Chad Greenway has since taken the lead with 111 tackles, according to coaches film review.

Safety Robert Blanton, who missed Sunday’s game, continued to sit out Thursday with ankle and knee injuries despite saying on Monday he planned to play.

Nose tackle Linval Joseph wasn’t at the start of Thursday’s practice for the second straight day, as he is out with illness.

But there was some encouraging news.

“This time of year you usually have a lot (injuries),” head coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday. “… It’s not really unusual. I think most of these guys are practicing (Friday) so we’ll see.”

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury, was practicing for the second straight day on a limited basis. So were wide receiver Greg Jennings (hamstring) and running back Matt Asiata (foot). And defensive end Brian Robison (ankle) was upgraded from limited participation Wednesday to full participation Thursday.


  • The Dolphins had only one change in their injury report from Wednesday to Thursday. CB Jamar Taylor (shoulder) was upgraded from limited to full participation. RB Daniel Thomas (knee), T Dallas Thomas (foot) and G Nate Garner (illness) didn’t practice for the second straight day. TE Charles Clay (hamstring), CB Cortland Finnegan (ankle), LB Jonathan Freeny (hamstring), LB Jelani Jenkins (foot), S Don Jones (shoulder) and LB Koa Misi (hamstring/knee) remained limited.

  • Heading into their recent home games, the Vikings had been leaving all the doors open, including an oversized overhead door, in their indoor practice facility to get the team accustomed to practicing in the cold. This week, however, with the Vikings traveling to Miami, they have been closing the doors and cranking up the heat. At the start of Thursday’s practice, it was 75 degrees “and rising,” according to a public relations assistant.

    Zimmer has been stressing hydration for the Vikings this week.

    “Hydrate and keep going,” he said. “I’m not concerned. Just got to go play. It helps defensively to get off the field, and the course of the game dictates a lot of that stuff.”

  • Charlie Johnson’s absence with his ankle injury was felt more than just on offense. He normally would have been the player matching up against Detroit’s Jason Jones when he blocked Blair Walsh’s 29-yard field goal attempt. Instead, it was reserve offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb, who was signed Nov. 26 and released Tuesday after allowing the penetration that led to the block.

    “Charlie Johnson’s been there most of the year,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “When he got hurt, we had (Austin) Wentworth in there. J’Marcus is 330 pounds. I thought he’d be perfect. They’re really big and strong inside, Detroit. Technique was off and it was blocked.”

  • Priefer said punter Jeff Locke has shown improvement in the last month. On 69 punts, Locke is averaging 44.4 yards (23rd among punters with more than 25 punts) with a net of 38.9 yards (20th).

    “He’s kicked well in cold weather. Last game he did a really nice job. He only had two opportunities on Sunday but he did a great job. He punted great and we covered great,” Priefer said. “I think he’s excited about going down to Miami, the warm weather down there and finish strong against Chicago. I’m real proud of the way he’s developed. I just need to be patient with him. He’s young. It’s hard to develop a young punter, but he’s got a great mental makeup, a great work ethic and he’s plenty talented enough, so we’re going to keep going in the right direction.”

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