Leslie Frazier was never really considering an outdoor practice Tuesday as his Vikings prepare for Saturday’s trip to Lambeau Field. For one thing, the Vikings’ practice fields at Winter Park remain covered in snow, which would have made the footing too treacherous.
But even if Frazier had even a small thought of heading outdoors, that idea was killed permanently when he arrived at Winter Park on New Year’s morning and felt the bitter chill.
“It was minus-10 this morning,” Frazier said. “Any thoughts I had about us going out there were kind of removed when I got out of my car this morning.”
So the Vikings practiced inside. But to help prepare players for Sunday’s cold in Green Bay, the Vikings opened the giant sliding garage doors on their field house to let the freeze in.
With different rules and regulations in the playoffs, the Vikings didn’t release an injury report Tuesday even after practicing. They will have to release injury updates on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The four players to miss practice entirely were Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Harrison Smith and Tyrone McKenzie.
Winfield’s injury is the most significant. And the Vikings might not know until Saturday now much the veteran cornerback will be able to play if at all. Winfield’s right hand remains significantly swollen after he fractured the second metacarpal in Houston on Dec. 23. Winfield tried to play through the injury against Green Bay last weekend but aggravated things, played only 18 defensive snaps and left the game for good in the second quarter.
Below the surface
McKenzie’s injury has its own significance. The back-up linebacker had his left arm in a sling Tuesday. As a key special teams contributor on coverages, McKenzie’s absence this weekend would be notable. McKenzie was actually given a game ball for his special teams contribution in Week 16 at Houston. He was hurt in Sunday's win over Green Bay but was on the field when Jeremy Ross busted off a 44-yard return at the start of the second quarter. Ross’ burst to the Green Bay 43 marked the first time since Week 5 that the Vikings had allowed a kickoff return past the 25.
The Vikings were also playing Sunday without special teams ace Robert Blanton, a rookie, who was inactive as the team adjusted its roster to have an extra defensive end available in case Brian Robison’s shoulder injury was aggravated.
“We had some moving parts in that ball game on Sunday [on special teams],” Frazier said. “That did affect some of the things we did.”