EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings had one starting cornerback and two offensive linemen return on Sunday and then lost starting cornerback Josh Robinson and center John Sullivan.
Coach Leslie Frazier revealed that Robinson fractured his sternum in Sunday’s loss at Seattle and will be out four to six weeks. Center John Sullivan suffered a concussion and will be subject to the league’s testing protocol.
Frazier said it’s possible Robinson could return this season, but the team was going to talk about whether to put him on the season-ending injured reserve list with six weeks remaining.
“We’re going to talk about it when we leave here sit down with (general manager Rick Spielman) and his staff and see what our options are,” Frazier said.
Frazier wasn’t sure about the status of running back Adrian Peterson (groin injury), receiver Greg Jennings (Achilles) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest) for this week with Minnesota set to play the banged-up Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
“Injury wise, we have a couple of guys we’ll be pushing to get them ready for this week,” Frazier said.
Robison has started all 10 games for the Vikings this season and has 58 tackles. He has four passes defensed and no interceptions.
“It had been bothering him for a little while and at some point he ended up making a tackle and he couldn’t get the wind back that he needed to be able to go out and run,” Frazier said. “We talked to him on the sideline, I think it was beginning of the second half . . . we noticed it in the first half, we come out the second half talked to him a little bit and decided not to let him continue until we got a look at it and found out today he suffered a fracture.”
Frazier said rookie Xavier Rhodes or Marcus Sherels will start on Sunday, with Sherels taking Robinson’s spot as the slot cornerback in the nickel defense.
Minnesota had cornerback Chris Cook and safety Jamarca Sanford return on Sunday after both missed the past two games. Safety Harrison Smith is on injured reserve and was given the team’s lone designation to return this season, but the earliest he can be back is Dec. 15. And Smith, dealing with a toe injury, might still need surgery.
Frazier wasn’t sure if Peterson would be able to play Sunday. He was bothered by a groin injury on Sunday and said it kept him from breaking a few long runs.
“Probably too early to answer that on this Monday after the game, but as we get further into the week we’ll have a better idea,” Frazier said of Peterson’s status, later adding that he isn’t sure if sitting out a week is what Peterson will need to recover.
“I wouldn’t say that today, as we’re still getting some medical information and our trainers a little bit more,” Frazier said. “My understanding is he should be ready to go, but I still need to get some other information.”
Jennings was a surprise inactive on Sunday after being listed as probable. Frazier seemed assured on Friday Jennings would be able to play.
“Yeah, there was nothing in my mind that made me think on Friday that he wouldn’t be able to go,” Frazier said. “It wasn’t until maybe Saturday night when I talked to him right before our team meeting that I got a hint that there was a potential chance that he might not be able to go, and even then I thought he’d be fine when he got up the next day to work out and see how he’d be. Just wasn’t able to do it so we had to scratch him. That was a tough one because we did expect him to be able to play.”
Frazier wouldn’t speculate on Jennings’ availability to play next week against his former team, Green Bay, at Lambeau Field.
“I have to be careful to predict that now, because I really felt like he’d be able to go in this last ball game and it didn’t work out,” Frazier said. “So I have to watch him go through practice and see him do some things to be certain.”
Waiting on Simpson: Jerome Simpson didn’t start on Sunday and played his fewest snaps of the year after his DWI arrest the previous weekend. Simpson was behind Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson and Joe Webb in offensive snaps on Sunday.
The role was discipline related and the team said it continues to work with the league in handling Simpson’s situation. Frazier said it’s possible Simpson would return as a starter, but wouldn’t commit to anything on Monday.
“You know, we’re probably where we are with Jerome and we’ll see where things go as the week goes on,” Frazier said. “I’m sure the league will give us some guidelines as they have been throughout, but we’ll continue to monitor the situation.”
Childs close to returning: Receiver Greg Childs has been on the reserve-physically unable to perform list all season for Minnesota after tearing the patellar tendon in both of his knees in his rookie training camp in 2012. Frazier said Childs, a former fourth-round draft pick who has yet to play in a game for the Vikings, will return to practice on Wednesday for the first time since injuring both knees in training camp last year.
Childs has worked diligently to recover, vowing to return from a devastating injury that has usually meant the end of players’ careers and has been running since this summer. He’s finally ready to begin practice as the team had reached the end of the window in which he could return to practice. According to an NFL spokesman, players on the PUP list could begin practicing anywhere from the conclusion of the sixth weekend of games to the conclusion of the 11th weekend. Minnesota ended Week 11 with a loss at Seattle on Sunday and Childs’ return to practice opens a 21-day window for practicing.
The Vikings now have three weeks in which to have Childs practice with the team before needing to put him on the active roster or on the season-ending injured reserve.