MANKATO, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have signed two rookie guards after a slew of injuries hit the team’s training camp depth.
Minnesota added Grant Cook and Bridger Buche after losing linemen Geoff Schwartz, Patrick Brown and DeMarcus Love to injury in the first full week of padded practices. Rookie lineman Kevin Murphy also left Friday afternoon’s practice and was later taken to the hospital after coach Leslie Frazier said he “wasn’t feeling well.” Murphy came off the field and went into a cold tub, indicating he could have been suffering from a heat illness.
To make room for Cook and Buche, the Vikings released defensive end Eric Latimore and receiver A.J. Love.
Cook, 6-foot-4 and 318 pounds out of Arkansas, and Buche, 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds from Eastern Michigan, were worked out by Minnesota on Friday after Frazier indicated the team was planning to add more healthy bodies along the offensive line for training camp. The Vikings were down to 11 healthy linemen Friday after Murphy left practice.
Cook was signed as undrafted college free agent by the Green Bay Packers after the draft, but he was cut last week a day before Green Bay started training camp. Buche was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers last week prior to their training camp but was released Tuesday.
Schwartz reportedly has a sports hernia: Frazier was still waiting for the results of Schwartz’s MRI after Friday’s practice. Multiple reports indicated late Friday that the MRI showed Schwartz has a sports hernia and could be out at least four to six weeks.
Schwartz, who had hip surgery and missed all of last season, had reported some pain while twisting and was sent back to the Twin Cities for further tests. Schwartz was competing with Brandon Fusco for the starting right guard spot.
Frazier called the injury an abdominal strain early Friday, but the team wanted to have further tests, especially since Schwartz was coming off his hip surgery.
If Schwartz has surgery, he could be forced to miss an extended period of time. Former center Matt Birk missed the entire 2005 season with hip and sports hernia injuries.