Vikings notes: Rhodes in the spotlight

Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes passed the NFL’s concussion protocol this week, and he’s expected to help a depleted secondary Sunday against the Bears. Rhodes was a full participant in Friday’s practice and should start opposite Vikings cornerback Chris Cook.

“We’re pretty thin in the secondary,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said, “and playing with a lot of guys that are out of position that you don’t really want to play as much as we’re having to play them, because it does affect your special teams as well. So to have Xavier back, that’s a big deal.”

Rhodes left Sunday’s tie with the Packers at the start of the overtime and didn’t return because of a concussion. Before the injury, the rookie had his best game of the season with the Vikings sticking to press man coverage for most of the game. He recorded four tackles and four pass deflections.

“I’m not looking to build; I’m just looking to just get better,” Rhodes said.

Listed at 6-1, Rhodes’ size will help the Vikings attempt to stop physical Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall (6-4) and Alshon Jeffery (6-3). It’s uncertain how much the Vikings plan to continue to incorporate press coverage again, but Rhodes showed he can excel in those circumstances despite his inexperience.

“You’ve got to be able to stay in front of them and don’t let them push you around,” Rhodes said of Marshall and Jeffery.

Keep an eye on

Vikings safety Harrison Smith is on track to return quicker than he, or the Vikings, anticipated after suffering a turf toe injury against the Panthers in Week 6. Smith participated in practice Friday and described it as an encouraging first day.

Since he was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return, the Vikings can’t activate Smith until Dec. 15 against the Eagles — though Frazier wished the NFL rule was different after watching Smith on Friday.

“It’s a good rule, but man, I wouldn’t mind if could play this week,” Frazier said. “He moved around well enough where you’d have no qualms putting him in the ballgame. He looked good.”

Smith said his left foot is stable and expects the remaining pain to eventually go away. He credits his eating habits as one of the reasons for the quick recovery. Smith said he attempted to eat healthier as his father, a doctor, recommended.

“I’m kind of a sucker for fast food,” Harrison said. “I tried to eat clean, and I tried to get some greens in my body. … [My dad] kind of told me a few different things that are essential to build those connections in the tendons, ligaments and joints.”

Bears scoops

Bears running back Matt Forte will likely play Sunday despite a knee injury that limited him in practice this week. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice for the first time this week after missing Wednesday’s session. He is listed as probable.

Most pressing question

Rhodes’ return eases some of the depth questions in the Vikings’ secondary, but they didn’t add a cornerback with the roster spot left vacant when cornerback A.J. Jefferson was cut Monday.

Safety Robert Blanton and cornerback Marcus Sherels are Frazier’s options at nickel back. Blanton played 50 of the defense’s 94 snaps against the Packers, Sherels 58.

“It helps us from a depth standpoint,” Frazier said of Rhodes’ return, “and you’re putting a guy at corner who is a corner as opposed to what we’re doing with Robert and what we end up having to do with Marcus, who is more of a spot player, not a guy you want to take 60 snaps.”

Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson (fractured sternum) is still a few weeks away from returning. Frazier said Robinson would start again when he does return, which would place Rhodes back as the nickel corner.

Questionable but ready

The Vikings are about as healthy as they’ve been this season. Tight end Kyle Rudolph and Robinson are the only players expected to miss Sunday’s game.

Wide receiver Joe Webb passed the concussion test and was a full participant in Friday’s practice. Defensive end Brian Robison returned to practice after missing Thursday’s practice because of an illness.

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Toronto 2:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Orlando 6:00 PM
Memphis 6:30 PM
Indiana 7:00 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
New York 9:00 PM
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Chicago 8:00 PM
Edmonton 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 11:00 AM
Maine 11:00 AM
Seton Hall
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Georgia State 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Kentucky 1:00 PM
Northern Ky 2:00 PM
UAB 3:00 PM
North Carolina
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Oakland 4:00 PM
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
Mercer 5:00 PM
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
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Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
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Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
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San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
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(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
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(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
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(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
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(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
SMU 12:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
UCF 2:00 PM
BYU 4:00 PM
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
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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 Noon




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