Two days before the Minnesota Vikings’ second preseason game, nine players remained out of practice with injuries, including three expected starters.
LB Eric Kendricks, DT Sharrif Floyd and G Brandon Fusco are all expected to be starters in the regular season and all remained sidelined on Tuesday. In addition to them, WR Jarius Wright, CB Tre Roberson, S Anthony Harris, LB Brandon Watts, CB Melvin White and DT Scott Crichton all remained sidelined for practice, as they have been since the preseason opener on Friday or before.
But there was another change that apparently didn’t have anything to do with injury. T.J. Clemmings was taking the first-team reps at right tackle, as the rotation between him and Andre Smith is apparently back on. Smith worked with the second-team offense on Tuesday.
Smith had said on Monday he believed the starting spot was his, but coaches have held off with any such declarations at that spot.
- After a strong offseason and training camp, Blair Walsh had an off day, going only 3-for-6 on his field goal attempts, missing from 41, 43 and 48 yards and hitting from 33, 38 and 46 yards. A couple hours before Tuesday’s practice, head coach Mike Zimmer said Walsh had been doing “really good.” “He has been kicking the ball really good in practice, and obviously, he hit the 51-yarder the other night,” Zimmer said. “He said, ‘Hey, thanks for letting me kick it.’ I would have let him kick it anyway.”
- With the much-hyped “12th Man” crowd in Seattle, the Vikings practiced for part of Tuesday afternoon with pumped-in crowd noise.
- TE David Morgan continued to get some first-team reps, as did WR Cordarrelle Patterson.
- S Michael Griffin has been rotating for some first-team reps with Andrew Sendejo for the past several practices. Zimmer said the choice at strong safety doesn’t have much to do with how they interact with free safety Harrison Smith. “Harrison can work with anybody, so that’s an issue for me,” Zimmer said. “It’s just when they’re on different sides of the field, a lot of times they make calls to their side, and you have to be on point. You have to make them right. Things change throughout the course of a ballgame; you have to be able to adjust and be able to adjust on the fly. If you come on the sideline and we say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do it like this next time,’ you’ve got to be able to do it.”
- S Antone Exum continues to work mostly with the second-team defense, but, during training camp in Mankato, Zimmer called him the most athletic of the young safeties vying for a starting role. “He’s a really good athlete and he can make a lot of plays,” Zimmer said Tuesday. “But he has to be consistent in his communication with the checks, being in the right place and, really, being dependable when he’s out on the field. Jimmy Johnson used to have a line, a saying: ‘It’s not how many good plays you make. It’s how many bad plays you give up.’ So, that’s a little bit of his deal right now. He has got to be more consistent and be consistently good and then make the plays that are there for you.”