Thin secondary still a Vikings concern

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 10:27 PM
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The Vikings are down four defensive backs, including Mistral Raymond (41), leaving them with only four healthy safeties on their 75-man roster heading into Thursday night's preseason finale at Houston.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

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The Vikings are down four defensive backs, leaving them with only four healthy safeties on their 75-man roster heading into Thursday night's preseason finale at Houston.

Safeties Andrew Sendejo (ankle) and Mistral Raymond (back), and cornerbacks Marcus Sherels (ankle) and Josh Robinson (concussion) won't play because of injuries. That leaves starting free safety Harrison Smith having to suit up for the game just in case more bodies tumble.

"There are a couple of guys we really don't want to play unless there's an emergency," coach Leslie Frazier said. "They'll be available, but we're hoping they won't have to play."

Safety Robert Blanton, a fifth-round draft pick who has been slowed by a hamstring injury during camp, will start in his first NFL live action. The Vikings hope he can play the entire game so they can evaluate him and keep Smith out of harm's way.

The Vikings also hope Eric Frampton can handle most if not all of the snaps at the other safety spot. He injured a groin in last Friday against the Chargers but returned to practice on Tuesday.

Jamarca Sanford, who appears to be losing his competition with Raymond for the starting strong safety job, might play. Frazier said most of his starters won't play, but added that there could be "a couple exceptions."

Fusco will start

It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but Frazier finally recognized second-year pro Brandon Fusco as his starting right guard.

"As we speak, he's going to end up being our opening-day starter," Frazier said. "There's nothing that anyone else has done that could unseat him. ... Brandon, as we speak, is the guy."

Geoff Schwartz, who had surgery to repair a sports hernia, returned to practice this week, but is weeks away from being able to push Fusco.

A kick out of Kluwe

Frazier was asked about the life and tweets of outspoken punter, Chris Kluwe, who might lead the league in colorful Twitter rants.

"He definitely has his opinions about things, and he tends to share those," Frazier said. "We've had some discussions, and for the most part he's adhered to some of the things we've talked about. ... But I don't want to speak too soon.

"I don't know what the next hot topic will be in our country that has to be spoken about. ... But he does a good job at his job, and that's important."

Six receivers likely

Frazier said the plan right now is to keep six receivers, including Jerome Simpson, who will begin the season by serving a three-game suspension. Percy Harvin is the other lock to make the team. Beyond that is anyone's guess because even the Vikings are uncertain what to do at this point.

Frazier said Stephen Burton, Jarius Wright, Devin Aromashodu and Emmanuel Arceneaux will handle the bulk of Thursday's snaps. Michael Jenkins would be limited, if he plays at all, Frazier said.

Frazier said Simpson won't have to leave Winter Park during his three-game suspension at the start 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.

Etc.

• 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.

• With Sherels and Robinson out, rookie Jarius Wright will be the first punt returner used Thursday. Cornerback Reggie Jones also will return punts.

• Frazier said running back Adrian Peterson and his reconstructed left knee felt fine Tuesday, a day after they were cleared to take limited contact in practice.

• Fullback Ryan D'Imperio (shoulder) returned to practice on Tuesday.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 4th Qtr 0:31
Utah 91
Denver 66 3rd Qtr 5:55
Portland 76
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 4:44
Vancouver 2
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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