Second-year safety Anthony Harris appears in line for his third career NFL start.
Harris worked alongside safety Andrew Sendejo during Thursday’s practice, the third session this week without injured star Harrison Smith (ankle).
Harris, undrafted last year out of Virginia, previously started twice last season when starters were injured. He’s been active for all 12 games this season, but has played just 56 defensive snaps, fewest among safeties.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer previously started rookie seventh-round pick Jayron Kearse when Sendejo was unavailable earlier this season. Kearse was pulled on the first drive of his only start in Chicago after he took a bad angle on a 69-yard run by Jordan Howard.
Zimmer said Thursday he believes Kearse will be a good player down the road, but that he’s currently thinking too much. Harris’ experience has given him an advantage, according to Zimmer.
“At this point, it was funny in the preseason, [Kearse] was going and playing,” Zimmer said. “Now he’s playing a little tight, so that’s the difference in the way he’s been. He’s trying to be perfect all the time instead of cutting it loose.
“Anthony is a little quicker with understanding the different nuances of things he has to do. I think that’s a little bit of second year, first year.”
Veteran cornerback Terence Newman is also capable of playing safety in a pinch, as he did last year. However, as the Vikings secondary walked through coverages, it was Sendejo and Harris at safety with Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes lined up at cornerback.
Center Joe Berger (concussion) was not spotted at the start of practice after he was limited during yesterday’s session.
Also at Thursday’s practice, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) was seen stretching with teammates before leaving the field.