Notebook: Henderson will start Sunday

Linebacker E.J. Henderson's impressive comeback from a fractured femur will culminate with his first game action on Sunday night, and he is making the start at middle linebacker.

E.J. Henderson will be playing football in a live game for the first time since Dec. 6 when he fractured his left femur in an ugly injury at Arizona.

Henderson was carted off the field as a team doctor stabilized his leg and he spent the night in an Arizona hospital. His rehab has involved the assistance of a scooter, then wheelchair and eventually a cane before walking under his own power.

On Sunday night, he'll be back out on the field feeling football action once again.

"I'm sure, first time back out there in the real action, back in the uniform, back out there with the guys, I'm sure there will be some chills," Henderson after Friday's practice. "But after the first couple snaps I think I'll be back into the swing of things."

Henderson was a pleasant surprise for the Vikings when he opened training camp on the active roster. He started out taking reps during non-contact drills but slowly eased into the full rigors of practice in Mankato.

Now, after sitting out the preseason opener in St. Louis, he'll be back working with the first-team defense for the first quarter of the team's game in San Francisco.

"I am (excited to see him). I think he's looking forward to getting back out there and bang it around and play defense for a quarter," Vikings coach Brad Childress said.

Henderson was held out of the preseason opener, but he said he's made progress since last weekend from the standpoint that he's had more time to practice with the first team.

"More reps under my belt, being able to practice and get some more competitive reps against these guys," he said. "Probably got my legs back under me a little better. Come out and compete against another team."

He said he hasn't had any additional soreness and "everything's good."

RICE NOT READY YET

Sidney Rice, who continues to linger on the physically-unable-to-perform list, said he isn't certain if he'll be ready for the start of the regular season.

"It's still up in the air. I'm pushing, working hard every day. I'll continue to do the same things," Rice said.

Rice injured his hip in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 24, but that injury wasn't disclosed since the team's season ended that night. Rice participated without any obvious problems at minicamp, but the team said he re-aggravated the hip at that camp and had it examined after that.

Rice said at the start of training camp that surgery was discussed but decided against. That surgery would have put him out of action for four to six weeks, he said.

"I want to be out there with my teammates putting in the work that they put in," he said when asked if he's getting frustrated. "But unfortunately I'm not able to right now at this moment. I'm going to continue to work hard and see what happens."

NOTES

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress said QB Brett Favre will start Sunday night's game in San Francisco and play a series or two. He'll be followed by Tarvaris Jackson, who is expected to play at the start of the second half. Sage Rosenfels will follow Jackson and rookie Joe Webb might see some time late in the game.

  • The first-team offense and defense are expected to play the first quarter.

  • Childress said CB Asher Allen will start in place of Lito Sheppard and the two will alternate series after that. Sheppard started the preseason opener in place of the injured Cedric Griffin.

  • Antoine Winfield will start at left cornerback and Chris Cook will replace him after one series.

  • The Vikings worked out receivers Brandon Jones and Javon Walker Friday morning. Childress said they were getting physicals and he'd talk to each of them in his office before making a decision if one or both of them would be signed.

  • Childress said center John Sullivan will likely make it back to practice on Tuesday after spending much of training camp battling a strained calf.

  • TE Garrett Mills left practice with an apparent knee injury and did not return.

  • The Vikings have sold 800 season tickets since Favre returned. Season ticket sales were already high before that, with a 94 percent renewal rate, the highest since the 2001 season. Limited group and single-game tickets are still available for regular-season games except for the Nov. 21 game against Green Bay, which is sold out. Less than 1,000 tickets remain for the two home preseason games on Aug. 28 and Sept. 2. Tickets can be order on Ticket Exchange at vikings.com or NFL.com.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

  • Viking Update Top Stories