It was musical stationary bikes on Sunday as the Vikings returned to the practice field, without 10 players, with exactly four weeks before the regular season opener in Tennessee.
A slew of players are still held back by injuries, namely defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), linebacker Eric Kendricks (hamstring), receiver Jarius Wright (undisclosed) and guard Brandon Fusco (undisclosed). All four did not play in Friday night’s preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Third-year defensive tackle Shamar Stephen filled in for Floyd, linebacker Audie Cole for Kendricks at middle linebacker, Joe Berger moved to right guard for Fusco and Adam Thielen continues to play in place of Wright.
Their silver lining, however, is the return of three defenders in cornerback Terence Newman, linebacker Edmond Robinson and cornerback Marcus Sherels. All three did not travel to Cincinnati, Sherels because of a family emergency and undisclosed injuries held back Newman and Robinson. Rookie running back Jhurell Pressley also returned Sunday after missing some time in Cincinnati because of a death in the family, per head coach Mike Zimmer.
Newman’s absence last week allowed second-year cornerback Trae Waynes to start and play the entire first half against the Bengals. Waynes had an uneven outing, allowing a few catches while deflecting a pass. Newman retook his starting post at left cornerback during Sunday’s practice with Waynes back in the second-team defense.
One noteworthy change was T.J. Clemming’s return to starting right tackle, at least for Sunday. He had taken a back seat to Andre Smith, who started throughout last week’s practices and the exhibition victory in Cincinnati. Before departing Mankato, Zimmer said Smith was “heading” toward being the starter. They apparently want to see more before deciding at right tackle.
Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who injured his shoulder early in training camp, appeared to be without limitations in practice on Sunday. He did not play on Friday.
With three linebackers held out, veteran outsider Chad Greenway got some work in the middle during 7-on-7 passing drills.
Also not practicing Sunday were linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, safety Anthony Harris, defensive tackle Scott Crichton, cornerback Melvin White, cornerback Tre Roberson and linebacker Brandon Watts.
Tight end Rhett Ellison (knee), quarterback Taylor Heinicke (foot) and guard Mike Harris (illness) remain sidelined on the NFI/PUP lists.