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Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


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Injury issues surface for Vikings

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings, Super Bowl, Leslie Frazier, Vikings injury report, Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Vikings road games Updated: October 20, 2013 - 8:44 PM

Today was a travel day for the Vikings, so no media access.

There are some major injury questions for the team on Monday as it gets ready for its game against the Giants (7:40 p.m., ESPN and Ch. 4) in the Meadowlands.

First, safety Harrison Smith is definitely out because of turf toe.  Could be a season ending injury, but the Vikings hope after a few weeks of rest he could return to the lineup.  Surgery, says coach Leslie Frazier, would mean 4-6 months of recovery.  Andrew Sendejo is in for Smith.

Second, Adrian Peterson has a hamstring issue.  The Vikings expect him to play – he practiced Saturday – but hamstring issues tend to linger.  So that’s a concern.

Third, left tackle Matt Kalil, who by his own admission isn’t playing up to Pro Bowl standards, had tightness in his back late in the week.  If Kalil can’t play, ex-Bear J’Marcus Webb is likely to step in.

Cornerback A.J. Jefferson (ankle) is out.

Kicker Blair Walsh has a hamstring pull in his left (non-kicking) leg and that likely means punter Jeff Locke will handle kickoff duties, as he did last week against Carolina.

Interesting that receiver Rodney Smith made the 53-man roster and now has hip problems.  He won’t be active Monday night, Frazier said.

Jacob Lacey will be active at cornerback with Jefferson out.  Lacey had a knee injury in training camp and arthoscopic surgery, then was cut, but he’s back now to replace Smith on the roster and will be thrown into the action. 

“He’s recovered from his knee,” Frazier said. “I don’t see much residual effect from the surgery that he had. We’re probably going to have to activate him for this ballgame with A.J. being down. The good thing is he has some familiarity with what we’re doing on defense, so that helps a lot. But he’ll be up and going this weekend.”

The play of the secondary could be key against Eli Manning, who has 15 interceptions this year, but is a two-time Super Bowl winner.  Smith has been the team’s best defensive back, and with Sendejo stepping in, and Lacey forced into action, Manning could have a big game.

Frazier has gone out of his way to defend cornerback Josh Robinson, who appears to have struggled.  On Saturday, Frazier said: “When you’re playing in the secondary and having some ups and downs, you’ve just got to keep battling and we just keep encouraging him. He’s going to get better. He’s doing some things better than he was when we first put him at this position. It’s a challenging position playing inside against some very good receivers and it’s not always man and it’s not always zone. Just got to keep bringing him along and he’s going to get better and our defense will get better as he gets better. This is part of the maturation of having young guys playing in the secondary but he’s a good football player, just got to keep putting him out there and keep giving him opportunities to get better.”

Veteran defensive linemen Jared Allen (ankle) and Kevin Williams (knee) were limited in practice Saturday, but should be good to go against the Giants.

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