Reports of the potential season-ending demise of Vikings safety Harrison Smith’s ankle were, according to coach Mike Zimmer, greatly exaggerated.
Asked if there was a chance that Smith could return Sunday against the Colts after missing last week’s game at Jacksonville, Zimmer said, “There’s a possibility, yeah. Even though the report was erroneous before, but he’s doing good.”
Smith did not practice Wednesday.
After Zimmer dismissed the local report, a reporter asked, jokingly, “But you don’t read that stuff, right?” Like a lot of coaches, Zimmer says he doesn’t read the coverage.
Zimmer laughed and said, “I hear about it. Trust me. I hear more than you think. I really don’t read it, but I hear a lot.”
Quarterback Sam Bradford showed up on the injury report for the second time in three games, this time because of a right shoulder injury.
Not practicing besides Smith were Trae Waynes (concussion), Brandon Fusco (concussion) and Laquon Treadwell (ankle).
Center Joe Berger, who missed the past two games because of a concussion, was limited in practice. He also was limited in practice early last week before suffering a setback.
Also limited in practice were Marcus Sherels (rib), Jeremiah Sirles (ankle), Everson Griffen (hip) and Stefon Diggs (knee).
Rare praise for O-line
The much-maligned and ridiculously decimated offensive line finally got a verbal hug from someone Wednesday. That someone was Bradford, who wasn’t sacked last Sunday in Jacksonville despite the plan to deliver multiple deep balls throughout the game.
“Those guys played great last week,” Bradford said. “They went out there and they just blocked their butts off, both in the run game and in the pass game. I thought they did a great job, and I couldn’t be more proud of those guys.
“Obviously, last week, when Fusco goes down and [Zac] Kerin comes in and steps up, plays really well. Those guys did a great job last week, and look for them to do the same this week.”
Home flag disadvantage
Oddly, when it comes to penalties, the Vikings are much more undisciplined at home (54 penalties for 455 yards in six games) than they are on the road (33 penalties for 315 yards in seven games).
“Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense, does it?” Zimmer said. “That’s why I’m not real happy about it.”
The Vikings’ two worst games in terms of penalties were in a pair of home victories. They had season highs for penalties (13) and penalty yards (137) in Week 2 vs. Green Bay and 10 penalties for 73 yards on Nov. 20 vs. Arizona.
“Undisciplined,” Zimmer said when asked to explain the spike in penalties at home. “We’ve got to fix it.”
Disappointment for Floyd
Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson had such high hopes of this being a healthy, breakout season for defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. But Floyd finally landed on injured reserve this week after missing all but the season opener because of knee surgery.
“I really thought that this was going to be the year he really turned a corner,” Patterson said. “He finished last year on a really high level, you know. When LJ [Linval Joseph] got hurt, he had to move in and play nose and he had some great games doing that.
“I don’t know, I’m just disappointed for him. He tried really hard to get back. It just never came around and I really wanted to see him succeed. I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into him, you know what I mean? And I wanted to see it unfold like it has for Griff, B-Rob [Brian Robison], LJ, Danielle [Hunter] and Tom Johnson. I really thought Sharrif was going to do this, too, and I think he did, too.”
Staff writer Andrew Krammer contributed to this report.