Coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings will be without four defensive backs -- safeties Andrew Sendejo (ankle) and Mistral Raymond (back), and cornerbacks Marcus Sherels (ankle) and Josh Robinson (concussion) -- when they travel to Houston for Thursday night's preseason finale against the Texans.
That creates the possibility of the team having to play starting safety Harrison Smith and potential starting safety Jamarca Sanford more than they would like if there are further injuries at the position. The Vikings have four healthy safeties. Backups Robert Blanton and Eric Frampton are likely to play most if not all of Thursday's game. Blanton missed the first three preseason games because of a hamstring injury. Frampton didn't finish last Friday's preseason game because of a groin injury.
Other highlights from Frazier's press conference today:
- Most of the starters will not play Thursday. Frazier said the team will talk about playing a few starters. Among the possibilities are right guard Brandon Fusco and Smith.
- Finally, Frazier declared Fusco his starting right guard for the regular season opener. "No one has unseated him," Frazier said.
- With Sherels and Robinson out, rookie Jarius Wright will be the first punt returner used on Thursday.
- Frazier said the team has been told by the league that receiver Jerome Simpson won't have to leave Winter Park during his three-game suspension at the starter of the season. According to Frazier, Simpson can't practice or work out with teammates, but he can sit in on meetings and work out individually with strength coach Tom Kanavy.
- Frazier said running back Adrian Peterson felt fine this morning, a day after he was cleared to take limited contact in practice. "He's no worse for the ware," Frazier said.
- Frazier said Joe Webb will start at quarterback and play at least the first quarter on Thursday. Sage Rosenfels will complete the first half and McLeod Bethel-Thompson will play the entire second half.
- According to Frazier, the team plans to keep six receivers, including the suspended Simpson, to start the season.