Herrera returns earlier than expected

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2011 - 12:22 AM

Vikings right guard Anthony Herrera returned sooner than expected from the physically-unable-to-perform list, joining the first team in group installation for Monday's practice at Winter Park.

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Vikings offensive lineman Anthony Herrera

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Vikings right guard Anthony Herrera returned sooner than expected from the physically-unable-to-perform list, joining the first team in group installation for Monday's practice at Winter Park. Herrera had been sidelined since Nov. 21, when he tore his left anterior cruciate knee ligament against Green Bay.

"We didn't anticipate him being on the field until maybe next week at the earliest," coach Leslie Frazier said. "The fact that he's out here a week earlier than we anticipated, that's a good sign."

Frazier said Herrera could play a series on Saturday night in the Vikings' second preseason game at Seattle, depending on how things go this week in practice. Herrera had to pass a physical to be activated from the PUP list. He wore a protective wrap on his knee Monday and declined to comment as he left the field, saying he had to go in for treatment.

Herrera, 31, did not participate in 11-on-11 drills, opening the door for Scott Kooistra and Ryan Cook to get reps. Cook replaced Herrera after he was injured last season.

Chris DeGeare had played left guard while Herrera was out in camp and also started in the preseason opener Saturday night at Tennessee. But on Monday, DeGeare was used at right tackle in team drills with the second unit.

Frazier said DeGeare is not out of the mix at right guard but that the Vikings want to see him at tackle, too. Center Jon Cooper also will play some guard as the team attempts to create position flexibility. "If you can find a couple guys that can do that, it just helps you numbers-wise when you come to game day," Frazier said.

Asked how DeGeare graded out on film Saturday, Frazier said he did OK. "There were some things that he could do better, and I'm sure he would say the same," Frazier said. "But overall, he did a pretty decent job. He'll get some other opportunities."

Frazier's intention is to leave Kooistra mainly at tackle for now. That means the competition for right guard will be among Herrera, DeGeare and Cook. Herrera stepped into the starting job in October 2007, and there seems a good chance he will be back at that spot for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener at San Diego.

Etc.

• Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) and linebacker Kenny Onatolu (foot) remain sidelined. Frazier said Shiancoe likely will sit out again Saturday as a precaution and that Onatolu will do the same.

• Linebacker Heath Farwell (hamstring), tackle Thomas Welch (glute) and defensive end D'Aundre Reed (strained calf) did not practice Monday. Rookie safety Mistral Raymond, coming off a hamstring pull suffered last week, was limited.

• Rhett Bomar was the only Vikings quarterback who did not play Saturday, but Frazier said the move wasn't the result of disciplinary action after Bomar was arrested for alleged drunken driving the previous weekend. "We intended to play him," Frazier said. "We want to play him, and hopefully we'll get him in the ballgame this coming weekend. ... We want to see him on tape and get a chance to evaluate him as well. We just didn't have the chance to get him in there."

• Christian Ponder worked with the second-team offense Monday and Joe Webb was the third quarterback. Webb played after starter Donovan McNabb at Tennessee, but that will change against the Seahawks. Ponder will be first off the bench and Webb will be second.

• New left tackle Charlie Johnson "did a good job," in his first start, according to Frazier. "[He] wasn't challenged a whole lot on the edge in that game," Frazier said. "Probably his strength in that ballgame was his run-blocking. Just didn't get challenged very much on the edge by their defensive ends, so he graded out well."

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