Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
The Vikings have received a bit of good news on the severity of Mistral Raymond's ankle injury. At this afternoon's press conference at Winter Park, head coach Leslie Frazier revealed that an x-ray on Raymond's right ankle did not reveal a fracture. Frazier still called the injury "significant" noting that Raymond suffered a severe bone bruise and what is believed to be a subluxation (dislocation) of the ankle.
The second-year safety suffered the injury on the final play of the first quarter Sunday, his foot turning awkwardly as he tried to plant and tackle 49ers running back Frank Gore. Raymond was immediately carted off the field and was in the locker room following the Vikings' 24-13 win using crutches to get around with his right ankle in a cast.
The initial fears were that Raymond might need surgery and be lost for the season. That, Frazier said, is not the case.
"It doesn't look like we're going to have to put him on [injured reserve]," Frazier said. "But he will miss some time. For sure. But no high ankle sprain. So just good news all the way around. It looked as if might be something that may require surgery. That's not going to be the case."
Frazier said that Raymond will need to see a specialist for further examination before the Vikings can get a concrete determination on the minimum amount of time Raymond will be out.
Jamarca Sanford replaced Raymond on Sunday and will be the starter alongside Harrison Smith going forward.
Leslie Frazier was asked this morning just what part of his defense troubles him most. Without hesitation, the Vikings coach acknowledged that it was the 2-minute defense that will keep him up at night until it’s solved.
After all, in the first two games of the season, the Vikings’ D has been on the field in the final two minutes of a half or the game three times. And all three times, they surrendered scores.
Against Jacksonville, there was the 39-yard touchdown pass Blaine Gabbert threw to Cecil Shorts with 20 seconds left in regulation, an inexcusable blow that capped a six-play, 76-yard Jaguars drive and put the Vikings in a 23-20 hole.
Sunday in Indianapolis, the Vikings allowed the Colts to march 64 yards on eight plays in their 2-minute offense with Andrew Luck hitting Reggie Wayne with a 30-yard touchdown pass with 7 seconds left.
And then at game’s end, Luck again engineered a quick strike score, this time needing just three plays to take the Colts 45 yards, setting Adam Vinatieri up for his game-winning 53-yard field goal.
“That’s glaring. We’ve got to do better,” Frazier said. “The way our team is built we’re going to play a lot of close games. We talk about that all along with our guys. And we have to play good 2-minute offense, good 2-minute defense, good red zone defense, good red zone offense. We have to do better in that area.”
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