Erin Henderson, Harrison Smith to return this week

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Linebacker Erin Henderson was back at

the Minnesota Vikings’ facilities on Monday after missing Sunday’s game because

of a personal matter and coach Leslie Frazier expects Henderson to be back at

practice on Wednesday.

Safety Harrison Smith, on injured reserve with the

designation to return because of a toe injury, is expected to return to

practice on Wednesday as well and is two weeks away from being eligible to

return to game action.

Meanwhile, rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes and receiver Joe

Webb suffered concussions in Sunday’s 26-26 tie at Green Bay.

“The only guys that will be questionable will be Joe Webb

and Xavier Rhodes,” Frazier said Monday. “Both suffered a concussion, so we’ll

find out as the week goes on what will happen with them. Other than that, we

came out fairly well for the most part. Tough when you’re dealing with

injuries, but that’s where we are.”

Henderson has been away from the team since last week with

an undisclosed personal matter. In his place, Audie Cole started on Sunday and

led Minnesota with 13 tackles. Frazier wasn’t sure if Henderson would need to

miss more time later because of the matter.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak to him, but everything I’ve

heard has been positive,” Frazier said.”So I’ll sit down and talk with him

this afternoon.”

Smith has been out since Week 6 with a toe injury originally

described as turf toe. But Smith said the injury was more severe than turf toe.

Speaking last week, Smith said he expected to be back at practice this week and

was still shooting to play when he’s first eligible on Dec. 15, a home game

against Philadelphia with three weeks left in the season.

“I mean, everything’s looking up,” Smith said last week. “I

get a (magnetic resonance imaging test) sometime soon, so that will kind of be

like confirmation. But from a feeling standpoint it feels pretty good.”

Smith’s return would be a big boost to a Vikings’ secondary

that has lacked turnovers in his absence. Smith is tied for the team lead with

two interceptions despite missing the past six games.

“That will be good news if he’s able to get through that

practice,” Frazier said of Smith returning on Wednesday. “We’re two weeks away

before he’s eligible to get on the field, two games away. But the fact that he’ll

be able to practice on Wednesday is a good sign for us and we’re looking

forward to having him back.”

Smith is the only defensive back on the roster with an

interception after Minnesota released cornerback A.J. Jefferson on Monday

following an arrest for probable-cause domestic assault.

Cornerback Josh Robinson is still out with a fractured

sternum suffered in Week 11, leaving the Vikings shorthanded in the secondary

with Rhodes’ status unknown because of the concussion and Jefferson’s release.

Frazier said Monday the team won’t put Robinson on injured

reserve. He was originally given a four- to six-week timeframe for recovery.

“We think he’ll be back in a couple of weeks,” Frazier said.

“He’s making good progress; (I) had a good report about he and Kyle Rudolph

today, so they’re both making progress. The IR conversation is kind of on the

back-burner.”

Rudolph is out with a broken foot, but is expected back this

season.

Rhodes suffered a concussion late in Sunday’s game at Green

Bay and was coming off perhaps his best performance of the year with four

tackles and four pass deflections.

“I think it was,” Frazier said when asked if Sunday was

Rhodes’ best game of the season. “He got his hands on a number of balls, really

competed well. We put him in a lot of man coverage. We felt like that was the

best approach against their offense, and he stood up. For our defense to — I

think we held them to 19 percent on third down — he had a lot to do with that.

We put him in man. They tried to attack him, with him being a rookie, which

other people do, as well. But he played with a lot of confidence and played

well.”

Frazier said the team possibly could look into signing

another defensive back with the injury situation and release of Jefferson.

“We’re going to have to consider it with Josh being down and

our situation back there,” Frazier said. “We’ll definitely have to consider it.

Even for practice purposes, you get thin enough where you can’t really line up

and have the kind of practices that you want to have.”

Minnesota filled Jefferson’s roster spot later Monday by

claiming offensive tackle Mike Remmers off waivers from the San Diego Chargers.

Remmers, 24, is 6-foot-5 and 303 pounds. He was waived by San Diego on Sunday.

Remmers made his NFL debut earlier this season with the Chargers.

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