All 63 Vikings helmets ran around the Winter Park fieldhouse Tuesday, meaning they’re healthy entering the most pivotal game of the 2017 season.
Right tackle Mike Remmers is continuing to work through the concussion protocol as of Tuesday afternoon. He returned to practice and was limited, leaving the door open for his return Thursday against the Lions.
The offensive lineman has not played since suffering the concussion against the Browns on Oct. 29, causing him to miss the past two games. Rashod Hill would start again for Remmers if needed.
Safety Andrew Sendejo returned to practice and backpedaled through individual drills next to fellow starter Harrison Smith on Tuesday. He was listed as limited after missing Sunday’s win against the Rams because of lingering groin and hamstring injuries.
That sound you heard was Minnesota’s collective exhale as cornerback Xavier Rhodes (calf) was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice. Rhodes looks on track to continue his strong season Thursday against the Lions after playing through a left calf strain Sunday.
Coach Mike Zimmer added he was not concerned about injuries in the secondary.
Defensive end Everson Griffen was bumped up to a full participant Tuesday for the first time since suffering his foot injury last month. Defensive end Brian Robison was limited in his return to practice from a lower back injury.
For the Lions, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was limited in practice Tuesday because of a back injury that has kept him out of the past two games. Detroit could also be without top punt and kick returner Jamal Agnew, who didn’t practice because of a knee injury.
Another versatile DE
Without Robison for the first time since 2012, the Vikings turned to a budding young defender whom they’ve needed to stash on their active roster to avoid another team plucking him from the practice squad. Defensive end Stephen Weatherly played a versatile role Sunday and could again Thursday should Robison be limited or miss more time because of a back injury.
Weatherly pressured Rams quarterback Jared Goff a few times and took down Todd Gurley for a loss near the goal line. Like Danielle Hunter and Robison, the Vikings let Weatherly rush while standing up — in case he needs to drop and cover in a zone blitz, too.
“You’re able to see more, which can help when you’re in linebacker-type situations or able to drop or something like that,” said the 6-foot-5-inch Weatherly. “When you put your hand down, you’ve got much better get-off.”
A Thanksgiving first
Case Keenum will make his ninth start for the Vikings, the 33rd of his NFL career, but Thursday will be a first for the quarterback and a few of his teammates.
Keenum, who grew up a couple hours west of the Cowboys stadium, never has played on Thanksgiving. This will mark the Vikings’ seventh turkey-day game of the modern era. They’re 4-2, defeating those Dallas teams twice when Keenum was 10 and 12 years old.
“I grew up watching the Cowboys and Detroit play, being from Texas,” Keenum said. “You know, stuffing your face and then watching those games, so it’ll be cool to be a part of it.”
A tougher matchup
One recent return has helped the Lions in left tackle Taylor Decker. The former 16th-overall pick wasn’t available last month when the Vikings sacked Matthew Stafford six times.
“I mean, guy’s a good player,” Zimmer said. “Better than the guy that was playing before.”
Jones waived again
Defensive lineman Datone Jones, formerly of the Vikings, Packers and Lions, was waived by the 49ers on Tuesday. The former first-round pick was given a $1.6 million signing bonus by the Vikings this spring. He was waived by the Vikings off injured reserve in September.