EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Christian Ballard’s absence from the Minnesota Vikings is going into its second week and coach Leslie Frazier still isn’t sure when the third-year defensive tackle might return to the team.
Frazier offered an update on Ballard, who’s been out because of a personal matter since he appeared in the team’s first preseason game on Aug. 9 on Sunday and wasn’t sure when Ballard might return. The team placed Ballard on the active-left squad list because of the absence.
“Hopefully, things will work out for him,” Frazier said. “But he has some personal things he has to get taken care of. But that’s where he’ll be for now.”
Ballard, 24, has played in every game as a reserve since he was a third-round pick out of Iowa in 2011. He has 29 career tackles, one sack and two fumble recoveries in his career.
Ballard had been dealing with a groin injury and he had a sack in the preseason opener against the Houston Texans. Ballard had been listed second on the team’s depth chart at defensive tackle behind veteran Kevin Williams. First-round rookie Sharrif Floyd has been third behind Ballard early in training camp.
“He’s one of those guys we were counting on to be part of our rotation,” Frazier said of Ballard. “He did a very good job for us a season ago. We’re hoping he’ll be able to help us this year as well. He’s one of those defensive tackles that we would like to have in the rotation.”
Frazier said he talked with Ballard before he left the team and the absence was not “without approval.” Frazier said there is no timetable to make a decision on Ballard with him on the active-left squad list until the cut to the final 53-man roster comes on Aug. 31.
“Once we get to the 53, things change a little bit,” Frazier said, adding he isn’t sure when Ballard needs to return to assure himself of a spot on the final roster. “I don’t know, as we speak today, that I know when that is. I have to talk with him and get a better feel for where he’d be at that time, whenever that time is.”
Kalil, Floyd and Wright miss practice: Left tackle Matt Kalil and Floyd missed practice Sunday with knee injuries. Kalil played all of the first-team snaps in Friday’s game, but was sore on Sunday.
“No (concern), just a little bit of soreness,” Frazier said. “He’ll be ready to go when we come back on Wednesday, when we starting practice in earnest.”
Floyd, who injured his left knee in the first preseason game, was still dealing with some soreness in the knee and Frazier said he was going to have further tests. Floyd played the third-most defensive snaps of any player in Friday’s game.
Frazier confirmed receiver Jarius Wright suffered a concussion on Friday. Wright was at practice on Sunday and did some running on the side under the watch of head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman. Wright will have to go through the NFL’s concussion testing before he can return to practice.
Frazier didn’t want to automatically rule Wright out of Sunday’s third preseason game at San Francisco. Frazier said the concussion isn’t a consideration, yet, as the team wades through difficult roster decisions at receiver.
“It’s not a factor as we speak,” Frazier said. “Now, we’ll see how things go if this became something that was lingering. But right now, no.”
Frazier said long snapper Cullen Loeffler is dealing with an elbow injury, but he’s expected to return to practice on Monday.
Felton out for two weeks: Frazier said the timeline for fullback Jerome Felton, following an appendectomy on Wednesday, is two weeks and the coach wasn’t sure if Felton would return before the end of the preseason.
Frazier is hopeful Felton will be ready for the regular-season opener at Detroit on Sept. 8.
“(The two-week recovery) means we should be able to get some work out of him for sure after the Tennessee ballgame and maybe the week of Tennessee, although that’s a very short week,” Frazier said of the final preseason game on Aug 29. “But for sure after that ballgame we should be able to get some work.”