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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San Diego 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Indiana 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Dallas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Vancouver 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Chicago 7:00 PM
Arizona 7:00 PM
Carolina 8:00 PM
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Columbus 9:30 PM
San Jose
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 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 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




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