The Minnesota Vikings wanted to get one practice in at U.S. Bank Stadium before their first preseason game to familiarize themselves with the new stadium, but the starting lineup could have some missing names.
Matt Kalil remained sidelined, as he has most of this week, with an apparent leg injury. The starting left tackle exited practice early on Sunday and appeared to be have taken a shot to the leg. He started practice two days later, then took off the pads during Tuesday’s session and hasn’t practiced since.
Zimmer said earlier in the week he wasn’t concerned about Kalil’s status, despite Kalil getting an MRI on Tuesday, but on Friday Zimmer admitted that he prefers to move forward without thinking too much about who isn’t available.
“Every Sunday we’re going to play with whosever’s ready to play and that’s never a concern. We make adjustments in every game when guys are hurt,” Zimmer said. “We got to help this guy, we got to do this, we got to figure out how to beat the other team.”
In Kalil’s absence, second-year tackle T.J. Clemmings has been practicing with the starters at left tackle. On the interior of the line, Joe Berger and John Sullivan have rotated days as the starting center this week, indicating that neither of them has won the job with any certainty.
“We still got a few more days until next Thursday, so we’ll keep talking about it,” Zimmer said.
The defensive side of the ball also practiced without three potential starters.
CB Xavier Rhodes hasn’t practiced since he left the second preseason game on Aug. 18 with a reported hamstring injury. In addition to Kalil, he looks doubtful to play on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
DE Everson Griffen didn’t practice Friday after going through the entire week of practice leading up to the final one before Sunday’s game.
S Michael Griffin, who has received some time with the first-team defense, also wasn’t practicing Friday.
Neither Griffen nor Griffin suffered any obvious injuries on Thursday, so they may have been resting something minor or simply getting a “vet day.”
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“That’s part of football,” Zimmer said of injuries. “Guys get hurt, guys can’t play on Sunday and the good teams don’t care. They just go out and play.”
- Danielle Hunter got Griffen’s reps and Trae Waynes got work at Rhodes’ position.
- Blair Walsh was 4-for-4 in his field goal attempts at the new stadium. The longest was from 45 yards.
- Teddy Bridgewater, who hasn’t thrown many deep passes this week after sitting out the second preseason game and most of last weekend's practices with soreness, completed about a 40-yard pass to Adam Thielen.
- It wasn’t a sharp day for third-string QB Joel Stave. He threw interceptions to Chad Greenway, Andrew Sendejo and Emmanuel Lamur, but Zimmer explained part of the problem.
- “That was messed up,” he said when asked about Stave. “Sometimes when the coaches put on there, they draw a circle to where he wants him to throw the ball. Well, he was just doing that and I went over and told him, ‘Don’t do that because it looks bad.’ And defense doesn’t care or not about you throwing them the ball.”