Mike Zimmer was upbeat about the team’s injury situation today, a day after three key defensive starters sat out another game and running back Adrian Peterson limped off the field in a 38-17 win over the Bears.
The Vikings coach said he is optimistic that safety Harrison Smith, nose tackle Linval Joseph and/or outside linebacker Anthony Barr will be healthy enough to return this weekend to play against the Giants.
“I think there’s a good possibility,” he said. “They’re getting really close.”
Smith has missed three out of the past four games with knee and hamstring injuries that are related. He was officially ruled out two days before the win over the Bears even though he practiced Wednesday and Thursday.
Barr has missed two straight games with a groin injury.
Joseph was questionable to play against the Bears but Zimmer said the Vikings knew on Saturday that he would not be playing. However, they did not downgrade him to doubtful or out on the official injury report.
“He was close but sometimes there's a possibility that you go in there and you re-injure it when it's not quite totally there,” he said. “But he was close.”
And then there is Peterson, who was not wearing a walking boot to protect his injured ankle when he popped into the open locker room today. Zimmer confirmed that further tests were done on the ankle. But no major damage was found and the injury is believed to be minor, per a league source.
After talking to head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, Zimmer didn’t seem concerned about Peterson, who did return for the second half yesterday.
“Yeah, he’ll be all right,” Zimmer said. “Sugs said he’s like Rubber Man.”