Visanthe Shiancoe's return to practice was short-lived.

Shiancoe injured his hamstring in the first week of Vikings training camp in Mankato. He returned to practice in pads in Tuesday's extended practice, but was back on the sidelines Wednesday.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Shiancoe hadn't had a drastic setback, but was sore. And the team, he said, is erring on the side of caution and will not play the veteran tight end in Saturday's preseason game against Dallas.

"We just decided to hold him back a little bit, give him a chance to get a little better with his hamstring," Frazier said.

Shiancoe has yet to play in a preseason game and has not had much practice time to develop a rhythm with new quarterback Donovan McNabb. Frazier admitted it wasn't an ideal situation, but reiterated his belief that having Shiancoe healthy for the regular-season opener Sept. 11 at San Diego was paramount. McNabb, meanwhile, downplayed any potential problems.

"We've been communicating with each other all through camp, each practice, on what I may see, how he may come out of routes and things of that nature," McNabb said.

Herrera to play

Frazier said Anthony Herrera would start at right guard Saturday night. Herrera, coming back from a torn ACL in his left knee last November, returned to practice last week.

"We're going to start him, unless we have a setback [Thursday]," Frazier said. How well -- and how long -- Herrera plays will give the Vikings a good idea whether Herrera will be ready to go 100 percent for the regular- season opener. Herrera is expected to play through the first quarter.

Brinkley hurting

Linebacker Jasper Brinkley was one of a handful of players not practicing Wednesday, a list that included Shiancoe, running back Toby Gerhart (ankle, Achilles' tendon), DT Kevin Williams (foot), LB Mark Washington (shoulder), LB Ross Homan (concussion) and CB Asher Allen (toe).

Brinkley has been playing through a hip flexor problem that Frazier said dates to the end of the 2010 regular season, but he is expected to be ready for the San Diego game. With Brinkley and Kenny Onatolu (foot) working through injuries, the challenge the Vikings expected Erin Henderson to get for the weakside linebacker position has been limited.

"It hasn't worked out quite like we would have liked as far as the depth and competition at the position," Frazier said. "But Erin has been playing well. That's a good sign for us."

Frazier said Gerhart had an MRI that showed no structural damage to either his ankle or Achilles' tendon.

Big Mac saluted

Asked for his reaction to the Baltimore Ravens signing former Vikings starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie, Frazier said, "I think it's good for him. It should be good for the Ravens, and I wish him nothing but the best."

Frazier released the overweight McKinnie on Day 2 of training camp.

Frazier wouldn't engage in a verbal battle with McKinnie, when asked to respond to McKinnie's comments that the Vikings asked him to take a pay cut and didn't give him enough time to lose the weight.

"I just wish Bryant the best," Frazier said. "I like Bryant. He was a good player for us here in Minnesota. I hope things work out well for him in Baltimore."


• Frazier said neither Tyrell Johnson nor Jamarca Stanford emerged as the clear leader at strong safety, but that both had played well.

"Whoever wins the position, we should be stronger because of it," Frazier said.

• Frazier said a decision will be made after Thursday's practice whether Christian Ponder or Joe Webb would be the No. 2 quarterback Saturday.

• Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said Marcus Sherels would again get the first shot at returning punts against Dallas. Sherels lost a fumble after a nice return last week, but Priefer said he liked the way Sherels reacted to the mistake. Sherels returned an interception for a score moments later.

• Fullback Matt Asiata (hip) returned to practice.

• Rookie receiver Dominique Johnson was cut and replaced on the roster by rookie linebacker Kyle O'Donnell.

Staff writer Mark Craig contributed to this report.