The newest Viking, Nick Easton, took over Gerald Hodges’ former locker at Winter Park and practiced with the team for the first time Monday.
The Vikings acquired Easton, an undrafted rookie center/guard out of Harvard, and a future sixth-round draft pick from San Francisco last Tuesday for the linebacker Hodges.
Easton didn’t have much time to settle in the Bay Area after only four games with the 49ers before being traded for a second time.
Easton signed with Baltimore after the draft, but didn’t make the Ravens roster after a positive preseason. However, the 49ers liked what they saw and acquired the rookie.
“It’s been pretty crazy, but I’m a rookie so I don’t know anything different right now,” Easton said. “I didn’t even get to see San Francisco. I didn’t get a chance to see the Golden Gate Bridge or anything. I was too busy studying my playbook. I’m going to take a similar approach here and just kind of live in the hotel for a while and really bury into the playbook and try to get acclimated.”
Easton is used to studying. At Harvard, he said he learned how to manage his time well and study for six hours if needed.
“Those kinds of building blocks really pay off when you get somewhere like here and you have to learn a whole new playbook in a bye week,” he added.
The Vikings front office and coaching staff had taken notice of Easton’s smarts and actually pursued him after the draft. Easton said the Vikings were among his final choices.
“We liked him in the preseason,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s got quickness, he’s smart, he has some toughness.”
Cure for the grabs
The Vikings coaching staff asked cornerback Xavier Rhodes to wear a different type of glove — boxing gloves — in the team’s first workout after the bye week.
Captain Munnerlyn took the gloves out of a box and strapped them onto Rhodes while the defensive backs ran through warmup drills. “Now you can’t grab,” defensive backs coach Jerry Gray said.
Rhodes has been penalized seven times, which is tied for the NFL lead. In the 23-20 loss at Denver in Week 4, he picked up three penalties — two for pass interference and one for a horse-collar tackle. That illegal tackle of Emmanuel Sanders earned Rhodes a $17,363 fine.
“With boxing gloves you can’t grab anyone, so that’s going to help tremendously,” Rhodes said. “You don’t box in football, so it’s pretty different [wearing them]. … At the end of the day, you’re just going to see if it’s going to help.”
Terence Newman is the only other defensive back with a penalty (one) this season. Defensive end Everson Griffen shares the NFL lead in penalties with Rhodes.
Sullivan works out
Injured center John Sullivan returned to the field for the first time since having back surgery in early September. He was jogging on the sideline during warmups and participated in other drills.
“I’m just following the plan that [trainer Eric Sugarman] and the guys put in play. I feel good,” Sullivan said. “First time being out there bearing my full weight, doing movement drills. It felt great.”
Sullivan, on injured reserve with a designation to return, is eligible to start practicing six weeks (42 calendar days) from the date he was put on the IR. That timetable expires a week from Wednesday. The earliest he’s eligible to see game action would be Week 9 at home against St. Louis.
• Starting wide receiver Mike Wallace missed practice again Monday, but Zimmer wouldn’t disclose why. Wallace also was absent last Tuesday, their final workout before the bye week.
Another starting receiver, Charles Johnson (ribs), is hopeful he can start practicing again Wednesday and be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against Kansas City.
• Safety Andrew Sendejo (knee), who didn’t practice Monday, also said he felt good after getting extra rest. Justin Trattou (foot) didn’t practice, but Jabari Price was a full participant after missing Week 4.