Just when it appeared the Vikings inched closer to reaching a fully healthy roster, cornerback Josh Robinson limped out of the start of Thursday’s practice.
Robinson suffered an ankle injury during individual drills in the open portion of practice to the media. He went over to the training table outside, attempting to walk it off, before heading inside to be evaluated.
“We’ll see,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He wasn’t going very fast when he did it.”
Robinson was one of five players limited in practice. Center John Sullivan passed his concussion protocol and was active during individual drills, but sat out during a period against the defensive line.
Guard Vladimir Ducasse was upgraded to a full participant after injuring his knee against the Bills on Sunday. During the open portion, however, he got second-team reps. Joe Berger and Mike Harris received first-team reps at center and right guard.
“Everything is a little in flux with the injuries, so we’ll see,” said Zimmer of the offensive line starting positions.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked with a number of quarterbacks in his 23 seasons coaching in the NFL, from Hall of Famers to no-namers. Now his challenge is to develop rookie starter Teddy Bridgewater.
“He’s a lot like our offense, a work in progress,” Turner said. “There’s going to be things we like, there’s going to be things where he’s growing and things where you shake your head a little bit.”
Turner said Bridgewater’s second interception, an “out” route that was thrown late, reminded him of a mistake a certain Hall of Fame quarterback made early in his career.
“When I was with Troy Aikman his first year [with the Cowboys in 1989], he threw the same exact interception against Cris Dishman,” Turner said. “We were playing the Oilers.”
Turner’s point was that even those with distinctive gold jackets in their closets dealt with growing pains at the start of their careers. Bridgewater, who has thrown five interceptions in the past two games, has been no different.
“You learn from those mistakes,” Turner said. “We’d like not to throw that ball late, and if you’re late, you need to put it further out in front. That’s not what happened.”
Little things add up
Punt returner Marcus Sherels made a fair catch with 13:08 left in the third quarter after the Vikings defense held the Bills to a three-and-out on Sunday.
The only problem was he was standing at his own 6, causing special teams coordinator Mike Priefer to give him an earful on the sideline.
“Oh, I had a talk with him, oh, yeah,” Priefer said. “I don’t know if you saw it, but I had a nice, calm conversation with him.”
Priefer said after watching the tape, Sherels didn’t know where he was. With the Bills kicking with the wind, Sherels started at the 12 and backpedaled to the 8. Preifer felt Sherels hesitated and kept drifting with the ball a few more yards with the wind.
“He’s got a rule, and I’d rather him not back up on those punts,” Priefer said. “He’s got his rule and hopefully he’ll continue to abide by that rule, which is an important one obviously for field position.”
Sherels, who finished second last season averaging 15.2 yards per punt return, hasn’t had the same impact this season. While he’s done a good job as a gunner covering punts, Sherels has averaged 9.1 yards per return through seven games.
“I think Marcus has done a really nice job, or he wouldn’t still be here as our punt returner for a fourth straight year,” Priefer said. “He does a lot for us and like any other player, he’s going to have a hiccup here and there and hopefully we’ll eliminate those.”
Claiming the prize
Bridgewater completed his first career touchdown pass to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson against the Bills, a 4-yarder in the second quarter. While the Vikings still lost, it was a special moment for both Bridgewater and Patterson, who wanted to keep the ball.
“I gave Teddy the ball,” Patterson said. “I wish I could’ve kept it, but I gave it to him. That’s the right thing to do to give that young guy his ball. Hats off to Teddy, I hope we get many more this week.”
Patterson wouldn’t explain why he wanted the ball, which was the 11th touchdown he’s scored in his career.
“I wish we could split it halfway, but that won’t work out so good,” Patterson said.