MINNEAPOLIS — Less than two hours after leaving the field on a backboard and stretcher, Minnesota Vikings backup offensive linemen Seth Olsen was walking around the team’s locker room and talking with teammates.
Olsen avoided what looked like a potentially dangerous injury and was diagnosed with a concussion. Olsen appeared to be kneed in the head by Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Scott Solomon in the second half of Minnesota’s 24-23 win Thursday in the preseason finale.
Olsen went low to cut block Solomon on a run by running back Joe Banyard and Solomon’s knee hit Olsen in the helmet. Olsen went down immediately and moved only sparingly as athletic trainers and medical personnel rushed to him.
“I think you could see all our guys just getting on a knee and praying for him and just hoping for the best when those moments come and they bring that stretcher out and you have no idea what’s going on,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “So, we were just all hoping for the best and fortunately things worked out that way.”
After several minutes, Olsen was secured to a backboard and wheeled off. He moved his hands and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was leaving.
“It was very scary,” receiver Joe Webb said. “Seth is one of my great friends. I came in with him my rookie year. To see him come back here to Minnesota, and we clicked pretty good, but it was scary. I am very glad to see him walk around the locker room.”
Olsen is a fourth-year guard who is competing for a backup offensive line spot. Olsen, who spent the past two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, was signed by Minnesota in the offseason. He spent the 2010 season on the Vikings’ practice squad.
Other injuries: Frazier said two other players came away injured from Thursday games. Cornerback Bobby Felder left the game in the fourth quarter. He had X-rays taken and Frazier said he suffered an ankle sprain. Felder is competing for a spot as backup defensive back and punt returner.
Defensive end D’Aundre Reed also left the game with an ankle sprain.
Minnesota sat all its starters Thursday to avoid injuries. Tennessee’s offensive and defensive starters each played a series.
“From my standpoint, in today’s NFL with the depth issues you have, it’s not worth the risk,” Frazier said.
Good nights for the running backs: Seemingly fighting for one position, backup running backs Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard each scored touchdowns on Thursday.
With MVP Adrian Peterson and backup Toby Gerhart sitting out Thursday’s game, Asiata received the start. He finished with eight carries for 32 yards and a rushing touchdown. Asiata was the third running back on the roster last season after moving from fullback.
Banyard was on Minnesota’s practice squad last season. He had 13 carries for 62 yards on Thursday and added seven catches for 54 yards receiving and a touchdown. Banyard led the Vikings in rushing in the preseason with 26 carries for 123 yards.
“I might cry, I really might cry,” Banyard said if he makes the active roster. “I will definitely have to thank the good Lord and then I’ll just cry because I know this is where I want to be.”
Decisions looming: With the deadline to reach the 53-man active roster coming on Saturday, Frazier said the team will spend Friday in meetings to discuss the final cuts. Frazier said the announcement of the final roster likely won’t happen until Saturday.
“We’ve been collaborative in our discussions, but at the end of the day (general manager Rick Spielman) is going to give his input and I’m going to share my input, but he’s going to make that final decision,” Frazier said. “One of the things that he’s learned and I’ve learned, you don’t want to make that decision about a player if the coaches, the head coach in particular, are against it. It’s hard if, as a coach, you’ve got to get this guy going and then you don’t necessarily believe it.
“It’s a tough deal, but we’ve been very fortunate in our relationship where we can discuss every single guy, talk through what needs to be done and what’s best for our football team. It’s worked out, whether it be the draft or whether it be the 75 or the 53, we’ve always been able to come to an agreement and make it work for our team.”
Frazier noted its one of the toughest parts of his job.
“It can get emotional,” Frazier said. “You spend a lot of time with them from April on and some that are veterans, you’ve been with them for years. To have to explain to them or to let them know that the end of the journey is now, it’s a tough time, very tough time.”