Center Pat Elflein is unavailable to start Vikings training camp because of ankle and shoulder injuries that have nagged him throughout the offseason.
Elflein, the second-year center, was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list Wednesday when quarterbacks, rookies and players rehabbing physical ailments held the first practice of camp. Veterans report to Eagan on Friday with the first full-team practice on Saturday.
Since he's on the active preseason PUP list, Elflein can return to practice as soon as he's healthy enough. His ankle surgery was at the end of January. Elflein also underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, a source told the Star Tribune, for an injury that had caused him to miss two December games. He still counts toward the 90-man roster limit while on preseason PUP.
Elflein's inactivity was a source of levity for the Vikings, at least during a somber practice only days after Sunday's death of offensive line coach Tony Sparano because of heart disease.
"I kind of tried to be like Tony today," coach Mike Zimmer said. "Tried to gig a little bit. Elflein was out there, I gave him a hard time. That's kind of how Tony was."
Zimmer added Elflein will remain sidelined "until he gets healthy and the doctors say he can go."
"He's getting better every day," Zimmer said. "It shouldn't be too long."
Holmes ready to go
Rookie fourth-round pick Jalyn Holmes showed up to Vikings camp with a healthy right hand, marking a solid first step in his transition this summer to defensive tackle. The former Ohio State defensive end gained five pounds, up to 290, during his month away from the team.
Two weeks ago, the cast came off Holmes' hand, allowing him to practice at the start of camp without a hitch. Once the full team reports Friday, Holmes has a chance to compete for an interior rotational spot behind starting defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
"It's not what you want, but at the end of the day I'd rather have had that happen in OTAs than in camp," Holmes said, "when you've got to wear a big club."
'Have to love it'
Kai Forbath is scheduled to arrive to Vikings camp on Friday, with the rest of the veterans, but unlike most established starters, he'll have a young fifth-round draft pick gunning for his job. Daniel Carlson started camp on the right foot, clearing the uprights on all six extra-point-range field-goal attempts from about 30 to 35 yards away.
Carlson, the highest-drafted kicker in franchise history, said he's feeling more excited than nervous heading into his first camp.
"I would say excitement," Carlson said. "Part of kicking is pressure and nerves. You have to deal with that. You kind of have to love it. It's not a great job if you're not wanting to deal with a little pressure. Obviously on Sundays, for me Saturdays in the past, you have high-pressure situations."
Limited camp tickets
Only about 5,000 free tickets remain for select dates during the first Vikings training camp at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. About 80,000 of the available 85,000 have been reserved, according to a team spokesperson.
Fans can still reserve free general admission tickets for Thursday's practice, featuring quarterbacks and rookies, as well as the full team practice on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Reserved seats, costing $20 to $25, are still available for most camp practices through the Vikings website at Vikings.com/trainingcamp.