Henderson Gets Injury Upgrade

In the midst of nothing but bad news on the injury front, the Vikings got some good news on the E.J. Henderson injury front.

When the Vikings return to practice from a three-day layoff following Sunday's win, E.J. Henderson won't be in pads on the practice field. But, after an original guesstimate that he would miss four weeks or more with a strained knee, the Vikings are now optimistic that he may only miss one game.

While it is expected that he will miss the return game out of the bye vs. the Texans, the new prognosis has targeted the Saints game the following week as his return timetable.

This will be viewed as good news for a Vikings team that is scrambling to fill in the new injury cavities that have sullied their bridgework. Dontarrious Thomas, who was thrown in the MLB position when Henderson went down (despite never playing or hardly even practicing at the position with the Vikings), is expected to be the starter in the middle when the Vikings meet the Texans.

* The shuffling at linebacker continues with the loss of Claiborne for at least one game due to a calf strain. Mike Nattiel didn't grade out as well as Mike Tice would have liked, so he and Raonall Smith, who has lost a starting job more than once, will be given the reps to push for the starting assignment vs. the Texans.
* The Vikings re-signed middle linebacker Max Yates to the practice squad.
* Yates is expected to be added to the 53-man roster later this week or early next week. The NFL is going to hear Onterrio Smith's appeal of his four-game suspension later this week and the Vikings aren't confident he will win his appeal. When a ruling comes, the Vikings will be able to add Yates to replace Smith on the roster.
* To make room for signing Yates and the finalizing of a deal to re-sign CB Rhett Nelson when the team returns to practice Thursday, the Vikings cut Deandre' Eiland and Oliver Celestin from the practice squad.
* Nat Dorsey will start at right tackle, barring the signing of an outside player to come in.
* In one of the most Surreal Life moments in Metrodome history Sunday, during a TV commercial break, the Jumbotron at the Metrodome was panning the crowd and got a shot of actor Burt Reynolds in Red McCombs' owner's suite. The reaction to Reynolds was almost thunderous. At first he seemed confused as to why the crowd was cheering so loud when nothing was happening. Unaware he was the reason, he was tapped on the shoulder by Charline McCombs -- who pointed to the Jumbotron and got his attention to why there was such a commotion. He seemed moved by the ovation and actually stood, waved and blew kisses to an adoring crowd. If Jerry Reed had been with him, they may have needed to delay the re-start of the game following the commercial break.

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