The Vikings believe they now have the big-armed quarterback to complement Adrian Peterson, the league MVP running back. But will Peterson be in uniform to support Josh Freeman and that big arm when the Vikings play the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Monday?
Thursday, Peterson was limited in practice because of a hamstring injury. Friday, he was held out entirely because of tightness in the hamstring.
Coach Leslie Frazier said he’s not concerned, but he doesn’t have to express his end-of-the-week level of concern on paper until Saturday, when injured players are listed as probable, questionable, doubtful or out.
“I think he’ll be fine with a day of rest and be ready to [practice] tomorrow,” Frazier said Friday.
In other injury news, kicker Blair Walsh (hamstring) was limited in Friday’s practice after being held out on Thursday. Cornerback A.J. Jefferson (ankle) missed his second consecutive practice, while cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (knee) were limited.
Smith out at least 8 games
The Vikings and Harrison Smith have opted to put off surgery on the starting free safety’s turf toe injury in hopes that Smith can return for the Dec. 15 game against the Eagles.
Smith, injured in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return after eight games. He’ll be able to return to practice in six weeks.
“We’re going to take this approach and then re-evaluate it at the end of six weeks to see how he feels,” Frazier said. “There’s a possibility that he won’t need [surgery]. There are some guys who haven’t had to do it.”
Frazier said the recovery time for surgery would be four to six months.
Andrew Sendejo will start in Smith’s place, Sendejo’s second NFL start. His first came two games ago when he stepped in for injured strong safety Jamarca Sanford.
Cornerback Jacob Lacey was signed to take Smith’s roster spot. Injuries led to Lacey’s release in training camp.
Passing grade for Freeman
Count receiver Greg Jennings among those interested in seeing what Freeman’s arm strength will do for the Vikings offense.
“He throws kind of a windup and it’s a heavier ball,” Jennings said when asked to describe the difference between Freeman and the team’s other quarterbacks, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel.
“There’s a lot more velocity. That’s really good. It sneaks up on you. It honestly does. But it’s one of those balls that when you turn around, the ball’s right there.
“You guys see the arm strength. It’s like a flick of the wrist and the ball is 50 yards in the air, no problem.”
Jennings played with three starting quarterbacks in seven seasons with the Packers. He’s about to play with his third quarterback in the past four games with the Vikings.
“If somebody would have told me that, I don’t know if I would have come,” Jennings said with a laugh before pausing and adding, “No. A little humor. A little humor.”
Bishop using AP timeline
Peterson’s remarkably quick recovery from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season continues to motivate those who have suffered the same fate since then.
“The first person who I talked to was Adrian about it,” said Vikings linebacker Desmond Bishop, who tore the ACL in his right knee in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. “I was looking at his whole timeline so that’s who I’m kind of in competition with right now. I believe he got his surgery after the injury six or seven days after. I think mine is going to be eight so I’m a little upset about that.”
Bishop was smiling. He considers this injury less severe than the torn hamstring that knocked him out all last season with the Packers. He’ll have this surgery performed on Tuesday by renowned surgeon James Andrews, who also did Peterson’s surgery.
“Going forward, I’m just going to try and keep at the same pace he had,” Bishop said. “He kind of set the blueprint. That’s where I’m channeling all my focus, to outdo him.”