It didn’t take long Thursday for interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to steer the conversation to something that has plagued the Vikings offense all season, but particularly during the team’s current three-game losing streak.
“This game is about points, and we had a couple chances to get points, and we didn’t,” Shurmur said. “That helped contribute to the outcome.”
The Vikings would not be looking this weekend to stop a three-game losing skid had they not squandered red-zone opportunities in key spots in each of their past three games.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles three weeks ago, the Vikings came up empty after their defense twice gave them the ball inside the 20-yard line during the first quarter. The first of those two possessions began at the 2.
In the loss to the Chicago Bears, they had a chance to make it a game just before halftime but got stuffed at the goal line and kicked a field goal.
Then in last week’s loss to the Detroit Lions, they got the ball over the goal line only twice in five red-zone possessions.
One of those drives ended with a punt, something that seemed to still irritate Shurmur four days later.
While the Vikings have dropped to 29th in the NFL in red-zone touchdown production at 43.5 percent, quarterback Sam Bradford said the offense has something to build on after twice scoring touchdowns in the second half against the Lions, including the go-ahead TD with 23 seconds left.
“It was really nice to go down and score a touchdown,” Bradford said.
Back in building
Coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd had been away from the building for about 10 days rehabbing his latest knee injury but was scheduled to return to the team sometime that day.
Defensive line coach Andre Patterson later said the Vikings also had him meet with doctors.
Floyd has been sidelined for seven weeks since undergoing knee surgery in September. Last month, he had been spotted doing activity on the side during practices. But Zimmer on Thursday said he still has “no idea” when Floyd would be able to return to the practice field, let alone suit up in a game.
The Vikings have kept him on their active roster all season. Asked about that, Zimmer said they didn’t think Floyd would be out this long.
“We didn’t think it was going to be six years’ worth of hurt,” Zimmer said.
Joseph sits out again
Nose tackle Linval Joseph missed his second straight practice after injuring his shoulder in the loss to the Lions. But he expects to participate Friday.
“I think I’ll be able to do a lot more [Friday],” said Joseph, a key starter.
If Joseph can’t bounce back in time to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins, the Vikings would be left with only two healthy defensive tackles, Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen, on their active roster.
Cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Marcus Sherels, who are both dealing with ankle injuries, also missed practice for a second consecutive day.
Fire lit under Walsh
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said that even though the Vikings worked out six kickers Tuesday, Blair Walsh “is still our kicker.”
“I’m a glass-half-full guy so going forward I’m thinking that Blair is going to be the guy the rest of the season,” he said. “We have our list together if he has an injury or if we want to bring in a guy to compete with him next year.”
Priefer said the kicker tryouts “kind of lit a fire under” Walsh, who missed an extra point against the Lions and also had a field-goal attempt blocked.
“He got ticked off in a good way, I think,” Priefer said. “He’s a competitive guy, and that’s the way you want him to react.
“If he didn’t react that way I would be really worried and then we probably would be looking for another guy.”
Staff writer Andrew Krammer contributed to this report.