The Minnesota Vikings got cornerback Jabari Price back this week after his two-week suspension was over. Price performed well during offseason workouts and training camp, but sometimes it takes time for a player to come back and pick up where they left off after missing time.
Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards says Price has looked good in practices so far, but it may take a bit of time for him to get back to where he was.
“I think anytime you’ve missed time, it’s not like picking up a bike and just getting back on the bike and riding it, there’s an adjustment,” Edwards said. “He’s working diligently this week in practice and you can see the carryover that he brings back from when he was practicing and working with us. From that aspect of it, he’s just got to keep competing and keep working through it as we keep going through the preparation the rest of the week.”
Even though the cornerback did his best to stay in shape during his two weeks away from the practice field, he knows his condition is lacking a little. Players often talk about a difference between conditioning and “football shape.”
Price is no different and he knows that he still needs to get back to the point where he was. He may not be there yet, but he is getting close.
“My conditioning, there’s no substitution for football shape,” Price said when asked if there was anything difficult about coming back. “No matter how many times you run on a treadmill or run around on the track it’s never going to equal up to the same thing, so I’ve been getting it back, but I feel good now.”
When Price made the Vikings’ 53-man roster in 2014, many considered him to be the backup nickel cornerback to Captain Munnerlyn. But so far in 2015 Price has practiced, almost exclusively, on the outside.
Edwards said that where the team works different players depends a lot on the opponents they are facing in the coming week and how they plan to scheme against them. They have mainly worked Price on the outside, but still plan to use him on the inside as well.
“As far as individual I’ve been doing both, but as far as practice I’ve been doing pretty much the outside,” Price said. “Picking up where I left off in training camp, working on the techniques and fundamentals. You know, in case I get moved to the inside, so I still practice in there. It’s a game-time decision as far as when they could throw me in there when I’m not. So I just have to make sure I’m ready as a player because I don’t know when my number’s going to be called.”
At this point, the coaches have not told Price whether or not he is going to dress for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, but the Chargers use a lot of three-receiver sets, making a deep defensive backfield a priority. He has not been back long, but he feels as though he is ready to go and is confident with his play both on defense and on special teams.
“This is my second year; that type of thing is a game-time decision,” Price said. “So I just have to make sure I’m ready, and I am ready. I feel ready to go.”