Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he only goes by what he sees in practice to determine whether or not a player will be able to suit up for a game.
If that’s the case, then chances are slim the sliding Vikings (6-6) will have safety Harrison Smith on Sunday in Jacksonville. Smith was not spotted as his teammates warmed up at the start of Wednesday’s practice.
Smith, who has been hobbled by an ankle sprain since the Nov. 20 loss to Arizona, has yet to practice this week. The Pro Bowl safety was spotted in a walking boot with crutches following the Dec. 1 loss to Dallas, a game in which he gutted out 51 of 52 snaps.
“I know Harrison Smith is a pretty tough guy, and he plays all the time,” Zimmer said. “When he’s hurt, he plays. He always plays, so I don’t care about reports. I just go by what happens in practice.”
Smith has a history of playing through injuries. He made a similar 10-day turnaround during the 2014 season, when he needed a walking boot for a swollen ankle following a Thursday night game. Smith shed the boot by the next week and started in the Vikings secondary.
This injury appears more significant, however, given that Smith wasn’t able to join teammates six days after the last game. A Pioneer Press report claimed Smith’s sprained ankle may require surgery and could end his season.
Linebacker Edmond Robinson (hamstring) was able to return to practice after being held out on Tuesday.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) was the only other active Vikings player not seen at the start of practice.
The team once again had center Joe Berger (concussion), punt returner Marcus Sherels (ribs) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (groin) participating after all three were held out last week vs. Dallas.
Five Vikings in all were limited on Wednesday between defensive end Everson Griffen (hip), defensive tackle Tom Johnson (toe), Sherels, Berger and Robinson.