Vikings veteran tight end Carlson eager to contribute

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 27, 2012 - 12:45 PM

  The tight end practiced Sunday after missing three weeks due to a knee sprain.

hide

Vikings tight end John Carlson

Photo: Genevieve Ross, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

It had been 25 days since John Carlson last practiced. So when the Vikings tight end was given the green light to get back in the mix Sunday, he did so with predictable eagerness. Carlson knows he has a lot of missed time to make up for. But he also doesn't want to push things too fast.

After all, the medial collateral ligament he sprained in his right knee in the second padded practice of training camp needed time to strengthen.

And above all else, Carlson had to remind himself that his return to action must come with some caution.

"The MCL creates stability issues," he said. "So lateral movement for me is still a work in progress."

Coach Leslie Frazier said Carlson "moved around pretty good" during Sunday's light practice, an encouraging step for a free agent acquisition whom the Vikings expect to consistently deliver in 2012.

The Vikings will not use Carlson in their preseason finale Thursday in Houston, planning to hold out just about every player who has a chance of starting. But the expectation is that Carlson will be ready for the season opener Sept. 9 against Jacksonville.

Still, the veteran tight end stopped short of saying he would be 100 percent for that game.

"The funny thing about football is that no one is at 100 percent strength, even for the season opener," Carlson said. "Anyone who's been in training camp and anyone who's missed training camp because they're hurt, they're not at full strength. That's just the nature of football. So I'll do my best to get myself in the best shape possible in the next two weeks and we'll see where that leads us."

After a shaky offensive outing in Friday's 12-10 home loss to the San Diego Chargers, Frazier's review of the film uncovered deficiencies "across the board." The offensive line seemed to take a small step backward. Quarterback Christian Ponder wasn't sharp with his pocket presence. The wide receivers didn't make many plays. And as a whole, the offense never found much of a rhythm.

It was a reminder that, even with all the progress that seemed to come during training camp, the Vikings offense is still a long way from being a polished product.

Carlson's return should help, allowing offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to uncork his tight end-friendly play calling more often. Carlson and Kyle Rudolph both have grand visions for what's ahead and have enjoyed working in tandem throughout the offseason.

"John's been in the league four years," Rudolph said. "He's been around the block. And even while he was hurt on not on the field, he was recognizing things and helping us with technique and other little things that some of us younger guys are still learning.

"Now, getting him back on the field, to have the luxury of us putting two tight ends on the field will be huge. Defenses will have to go with their base personnel and they'll have a hard time matching up."

Carlson said he believes improving his conditioning will be the biggest challenge over the next two weeks, also noting that all that missed practice has left him somewhat rusty with his releases on pass routes and his footwork while blocking.

"I've missed an awful lot of physical reps," he said. "So I'm trying to get as many reps as I can in the next two weeks to get that feel back."

  • related content

  • Ponder aims to improve touch

    Sunday August 26, 2012

    Don't worry, Christian Ponder said. Upon further review, all of the hiccups he and the Vikings offense had in Friday's loss to San Diego are correctable.

  • Hartman: Brinkley's play gives Vikings reason for optimism

    Sunday August 26, 2012

    The linebacker, coming back from a hip injury that sidelined him all of last year, looked good against the Chargers after having a rough time to start training camp.

  • VIKINGS PRESEASON

    Up next: 6 p.m. Thursday at Houston • TV: Ch. 11

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis 3 Bottom 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Arizona - W. Miley 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - A. Simon
Boston - J. Lester 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Price
San Diego - J. Hahn 6:35 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Oakland - J. Hammel 7:05 PM
Texas - J. Williams
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Miami - B. Hand 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Correia
Cleveland - J. Tomlin 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 7:40 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Detroit - D. Smyly 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Baltimore - K. Gausman 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Colorado
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Tulsa 6:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 6:30 PM
Atlanta
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close