Notebook: Vikings working through injuries

Brett Favre wasn't the only Viking missing practice. A few Pro Bowlers and other regular contributors weren't able to practice because of injuries and personal issues. Plus, get close to 20 practice notes from Tuesday's sessions.

Brett Favre wasn't the only player under contract not practicing for the Vikings on Tuesday. In fact, several other starters were sidelined or left practice due to injuries.

Running Adrian Peterson didn't practice during the afternoon session because of a leg issue that the team continues to be treat with a cautious approach. Peterson said he is experiencing soreness in his left leg and he has been limited since Saturday because of it. The Vikings started training camp on Friday.

"A few days and it will be OK. No one knows my body better than me – but God," he said with a laugh. "But the coaching staff and the training staff, they're cool."

Most likely, the Vikings are just being cautious with the injury, because Peterson isn't showing any obvious signs of a serious injury. Now in his fourth season with the team, he is familiar with the offense and can afford to be cautious with the soreness.

"Exactly. We've got a lot of young guys. We've got eight guys in our group, so it gives them the opportunity to get some good footage on tape and (I can) just take it slow," he said.

But Peterson was only one of the walking wounded players in Mankato, and he wasn't even the only Pro Bowler.

Receiver Sidney Rice, who made his first Pro Bowl after garnering 1,312 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, has been on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list with a hip injury that he suffered in the NFC Championship Game. The injury became an issue again in minicamp and Rice started to see specialists, some of whom recommended surgery but didn't think it was absolutely necessary.

Rice opted to forego the surgery after the mid-June minicamp, which he said would have put him out for four to six weeks, and said he hopes to return to action soon.

Cornerback Cedric Griffin finds himself on the PUP list as well and hasn't practiced since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the NFC Championship Game.

Peterson, Rice and Griffin all left the afternoon practice after stretching and went inside to rehabilitate their injuries before returning to watch later in the practice.

But the missing players didn't end there. Pro Bowl kick returner Percy Harvin, known just as much for his receiving skills, missed his third straight day of practice because of a death in the family. Cornerback Benny Sapp, who started seven games last year filling in for an injured Antoine Winfield and playing in the nickel defense, was held out of practice for a third day after suffering dehydration on Saturday.

Pro Bowl left tackle Bryant McKinnie suffered a similar fate on Tuesday as he left the field after having cold towels placed on the back of his neck and went to a cooling trailer after apparently being affected by the heat. "It's amazing, as the players said, how weather can turn hateful when you finally put the full pack on and pad them all the way up," Vikings coach Brad Childress said of the 90-degree heat and high humidity. "A lot of good work, nobody got hurt (during Tuesday's practices)."

There was a bit of good news, as center John Sullivan returned to practice after being kicked in the leg on Saturday night and missing the end of that practice and the three practices between then and Tuesday's morning session.

Linebacker E.J. Henderson continued to practice, but only once a day, as he returns from a fractured femur suffered in December.

TUESDAY PRACTICE NOTES

  • Favre may have stolen the headlines, but Tuesday was supposed be all about the Vikings conducting their first full-pads practice in which they tackled to the ground. Big-thumping linebacker Jasper Brinkley got it started with an early hit that sent rookie running Toby Gerhart to the ground. The hit had running backs coach Eric Bieniemy imploring Gerhart to "get up and finish" and had Childress slapping Brinkley with congratulations.

  • Despite taking a big hit, Gerhart shows quick feet when working through traffic at the line of scrimmage.

    "I thought Toby Gerhart showed up and I saw Darius Reynaud among others do some good things down there (at the goal line)," Childress said. "Had a couple missed assignments and some good plays on defense with guys taking a run through, and that's what you have to do to play good defense."

  • The Vikings concentrated on short-yardage and goal-line drills during much of their full-contact session.

  • Safety Jamarca Sanford was in on two tackles during the early goal-line session that featured the second-team defense keeping the second-team offense out of the end zone from the 2-yard line.

  • Linebacker Erin Henderson knocked away a pass in the end zone that was intended for TE Visanthe Shiancoe. Henderson was responsible for a big hit that dropped Gerhart for a loss later in the morning practice.

  • The first-team defense held the first-team offense out of the end zone when Gerhart was stopped at the line of scrimmage twice and a third-down play-action pass from Tarvaris Jackson fell incomplete.

  • Rookie QB Joe Webb's first goal-line action didn't start well. He fumbled the first snap, causing DE Brian Robison to shout from the sidelines, "Hey, don't get nervous 14."

    "As it usually goes, some good, some bad," Childress said of the goal-line work. "From a quarterback standpoint, I saw Joe Webb, as it always invariably happens (with) the center-quarterback exchange, when guys are getting off they're a little bit lower to the ground. They are in a crouch. A lot of times the ball goes on the ground, as it did. It's something you coach against, but you would much rather have it happen here than somewhere else."

  • Free-agent acquisition Ryan Moats found the end zone on consecutive plays from the 2-yard line, bumping the first run out wide left and taking the second one right up the middle.

  • LB E.J. Henderson registered an interception against Jackson.

  • DE Jared Allen recorded a touch sack of Sage Rosenfels.

  • DE Michael Montgomery kept containment to get a sack on a Webb rollout.

  • CB Chris Cook showed great reaction and just as good of hands when he relocated to intercept a deflected Webb pass that WR Marquis Hamilton couldn't handle.

  • With Rice and Harvin out, Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis and Jaymar Johnson were the most-used receivers with the first-team offense. Taye Biddle also got a few reps.

  • Sanford and Tyrell Johnson rotated at strong safety with the first-team defense.

  • During the afternoon session, Everson Griffen had back-to-back touch sacks on Webb.

  • When McKinnie left the afternoon practice, Patrick Brown took his place at left tackle.

  • Lito Sheppard ended the afternoon session with an interception of a Rosefels pass intended for Logan Payne.

  • The Vikings' ownership retreat, which featured updates from all of the vice presidents, ended Tuesday morning, but owner Zygi Wilf stuck around for the second practice.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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