MANKATO, Minn. — The scare the Minnesota Vikings might have gotten from Tuesday’s rash of injuries turned out to be fleeting.
Defensive end Jared Allen, safety Harrison Smith, linebacker Erin Henderson and defensive tackle Christian Ballard all returned to practice Wednesday after missing or leaving practice early on Tuesday. Minnesota also got linebacker Desmond Bishop and rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes back on a limited basis for Wednesday afternoon’s padded practice.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier wasn’t sure who would play in Friday’s first preseason game. But the injuries, particularly to Allen, weren’t a problem. Allen left practice Tuesday with a sprained ankle, but he participated in Wednesday’s walkthrough and practice and didn’t seem bothered by the injury. Smith suffered a knee injury on Tuesday and missed part of practice, but jogged off at the end.Minnesota also got linebacker Desmond Bishop and rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes back on a limited basis for Wednesday afternoon’s padded practice.
“Both are going to be fine,” Frazier said. “There are no ill effects from what occurred yesterday. They should both be fine.”
Henderson has been dealing with a sore groin, but was held out Tuesday as more of a precautionary matter.
Bishop (groin) and Rhodes (hamstring) were in full pads Wednesday and participated in many of the individual or position drills, but didn’t take part in full-team work as they return. Frazier said Allen won’t play Friday and mentioned Wednesday its unlikely that Bishop or Rhodes would be ready to play Friday.
“I don’t think we’d put him out there until we got a few days of practice under his belt,” Frazier said of Rhodes. “I don’t know if that would be wise.”
Cornerback Jacob Lacey missed Wednesday’s afternoon practice and Frazier said he was dealing with a knee injury. A.J. Jefferson, who has an ankle injury, missed his third day of practice.
Frazier has been cautious to say who won’t dress for Friday’s game.
“I have an idea,” Frazier said Wednesday morning. “I want to get through today’s practice and then conclude some things after today’s practice.”
Ready for a different opponent: Frazier said he can tell the Vikings are ready for Friday’s preseason opener at home by some of the testiness in the padded practices, like Tuesday when receiver Jerome Simpson and linebacker Chad Greenway got into an altercation.
“You can see it sometimes where guys are getting a little bit feisty amongst themselves, it’s probably about time to start hitting some other jerseys,” Frazier said.
Frazier added the importance of preseason games under the new collective bargaining agreement and the reduction in padded practices.
“In today’s NFL the preseason has become a premium in that regard because of the limited amount of exposure you get in actual practices,” Frazier said. “So those preseason games have more importance because you’re trying to identify the right 53. So you have to utilize those games correctly. For us, it’s a chance to evaluate our young guys and then for our veteran guys, just to get them a gauge of where they are at this point in the preseason.”
Frazier said playing the first game at home, in front of the home fans, adds a bit more emotion but said he can’t make decisions on who plays and how long because of being at home. Along with Allen, MVP running back Adrian Peterson isn’t likely to play Friday.
“You can’t lose sight of what you want to get done in the preseason,” Frazier said.