The only Vikings' starter to miss both practices this week has been receiver Stefon Diggs. But head coach Mike Zimmer shrugged off Wednesday that absence on Wednesday.
“He’s sick,” Zimmer said. “He’ll be fine.”
In addition, receiver Adam Thielen was added to the injury report with limited participation on Wednesday with an ankle problem. The Star Tribune's Ben Goessling tweeted this morning that Thielen needed stitches in his ankle.
The only other starter to miss part of Wednesday’s practice was nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee). He was limited after missing Tuesday’s practice.
Nickel back Mackensie Alexander, who had arthroscopic knee surgery, did not practice. Neither did backup safety Jayron Kearse (toe/knee).
Asked about his concern now that Kearse has been added to the list of beat-up defensive backs, Zimmer pointed to how well the Vikings played at New Orleans while missing their top two slot corners.
“We played pretty well the other day against a pretty good offensive team,” Zimmer said. “We should be fine.”
Other starters on the injury report who haven’t missed any practice time this week are Xavier Rhodes (ankle/shoulder), Shamar Stephen (knee), Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Kline (elbow).
Backup defensive tackle Ifeadi Odenigbo (hamstring) was taken off the injury report on Wednesday.
Turning a negative into a positive
Kyle Rudolph can catch. He can block. And, apparently, he can spin a negative into a positive with the best of them.
The Vikings are the only divisional team playing on a short week. They’ll play in San Francisco on Saturday, six days after a physical overtime game at New Orleans.
The offense played a season-high 79 snaps against the Saints. Kirk Cousins, Riley Reiff, Pat Elflein, Garrett Bradbury and Josh Kline played every snap. Brian O’Neill and Rudolph played 78 and 73 snaps, respectively.
But in Rudolph’s opinion, the short week comes in handy when it comes to keeping the Vikings focused more on their next game rather than basking in the afterglow of their past win, à la two years ago when the “Minneapolis Miracle” was followed by the Philly Flop.
“Being on a short week forces you to mentally put it aside,” Rudolph said.
He said it also helps that the core group of this year’s team was around for that 38-7 NFC title game beatdown at Philadelphia.
“We were all there two years ago when we had the greatest win ever and thought we were destined to win the Super Bowl [when] it was in our stadium, and we laid an egg,” Rudolph said. “We’re certainly glad we’re still playing, but we need to go out and play well in San Francisco or it’s going to be over just like that.”
Zimmer was asked if there are any advantages to playing on a short week. He laughed.
“No,” he said. “Not really. The short week isn’t a big deal. It’s the recovery time for the players. We played a really physical game on Sunday and then trying to get back and recovered and get the bodies healthy and get ready to go play another physical, emotional football game this weekend.”
Stefanski focusing on 49ers
Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski wouldn’t talk about his interview with the Browns set for Thursday in the Twin Cities.
“I would prefer to just keep the focus on what we’re doing and San Francisco, our players and really not worry about anything else,” Stefanski said.
Asked a follow-up question about the Browns, who also interviewed him last year for the job that went to Freddie Kitchens, Stefanski said, “There’s a lot to focus on this week. I’m going to keep it on the 49ers.”
Rudolph a terrible OC
Rudolph said he’d be terrible as Vikings offensive coordinator.
“Because when I play Madden, I just throw it to myself every time,” he said. “If I were calling the plays, that’s what I would do no different. So, Kevin doesn’t have an easy job spreading the ball around.”
Does he win playing Madden?
“No because I just throw the ball to myself,” he said. “I’m usually tired and get taken out of the game.”