EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The injury is joining the insult for the Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota, which equaled the worst start in franchise history with Sunday’s last-minute 27-23 loss at Dallas, has lost tight end Kyle Rudolph for at least a month after he broke his left foot on Sunday. The Vikings (1-7) lost for the third time this season while allowing a come-from-behind touchdown with less than a minute left and could be severely short-handed when they host the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.
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“With Kyle it doesn’t look quite as good,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “He has a fractured foot so that’s pretty serious. We’ll get the timetable here pretty soon.” Frazier later added the injury isn’t believed to be season-ending and could be “close to a month.”
FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that he talked to Rudolph and was given a four-to-six week timeframe. Glazer said the fracture is not a Lisfranc injury, which likely would have sideline Rudolph for the season.
The Vikings could also be without right tackle Phil Loadholt, who suffered a concussion in Sunday’s game. Frazier said after Sunday’s game it would be tough for Loadholt to go through the league’s concussion testing and be cleared before Thursday.
Frazier said guard Charlie Johnson (elbow), safety Jamarca Sanford (groin), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest and knee), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee), tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) and running back Matt Asiata would be held out of the team’s walk-through on Monday. Asiata, who’s been dealing with a shoulder injury, is away from the team for the funeral of his father, who died in a bus accident last week.
“All of those guys we’re going to hold them out and see if we can get a little bit more medical clarification on what direction we’ll go with them,” Frazier said. “Hopefully some of them will be able to get some work in tomorrow prior to the game on Thursday.”
Rudolph fractured his foot on a 31-yard touchdown catch in Sunday’s game. Rudolph has hit hard while by Cowboys’ safety Barry Church and then bounced off the hit and scored his third touchdown of the year. But his foot was caught underneath Church, who tackled Rudolph as he crossed the goal line.
Rudolph is second on the team with 30 catches this season for 313 yards, and leads the team in receiving touchdowns. Rudolph didn’t finish Sunday’s game, leaving the team with John Carlson and Chase Ford at tight end. Carlson has been a disappointment with just 19 catches since signing a big-money contract as a free agent in 2012. Ford was just activated to help ease the loss of Ellison, who has missed the past two games.
“It’s a very significant injury for him and for our team,” Frazier said. “That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he’ll play. John Carlson will get more reps now. Hopefully we can get Rhett back. So those guys will get more reps.”
Frazier said rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes should be able to practice on Tuesday after leaving Sunday’s game with what looked like a leg injury. Rhodes was listed with a shoulder injury, but the team’s medical staff looked at his leg on the sideline after he left Sunday’s game. Cornerback Josh Robinson was also listed with a chest injury. Cornerback Chris Cook (hip), who missed Sunday’s game, is going to practice on Tuesday.
“I’m just going to get out there tomorrow and see how I feel once I start running around, coming out of my breaks and running full speed,” Cook said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good.”
Safety Harrison Smith, who is on injured reserve with a designation to return with a toe injury, said surgery hasn’t completely been ruled out yet. But he said he’s feeling better and is hopeful to avoid surgery because he wants to return this season. Smith is eligible to return for the season’s final three games.