The Vikings might have dodged another blow threatening to keep an already-shuffled offensive line together.
Left guard Alex Boone, who left Sunday’s victory in Carolina because of a hip injury, underwent an MRI and “should be OK,” according to coach Mike Zimmer.
“I think so,” Zimmer said when asked if Boone will be ready this week. “I mean, I won’t know until we get out there and practice, but from what I understand, he’s doing better.”
Boone played 19 snaps before leaving in the second quarter. It doesn’t sound like another catastrophic hit like last week, when left tackle Matt Kalil was placed on injured reserve after trying to play through a labrum tear in his right hip. Boone has had an uneven start at left guard since the Vikings guaranteed him $10 million on a four-year deal signed in free agency.
Should Boone miss any time, up next is Jeremiah Sirles, who the Vikings acquired last year in a trade with the Chargers. Sirles made his first appearance against the Panthers, filling in at left guard for 35 snaps.
“We gave him a lot of work at guard this last week anyway,” Zimmer said of Sirles. “He went in there and did a really good job — got to the second level, did a nice job in pass protection.”
Rookie tight end David Morgan was forced to leave Sunday’s game because of a knee injury. Zimmer only said he wouldn’t need to be placed on injured reserve.
Yes, that was Cordarrelle Patterson you saw on the Vikings’ punt coverage team in Carolina.
Patterson, the 2013 first-round pick, has stayed involved during his contract season, though maybe not the way he envisioned. His talent flashed as a new gunner covering Jeff Locke’s punts, downing one at the 2-yard line and tackling Panthers returner Ted Ginn Jr. on another for the loss of a yard. The Vikings subbed in players more frequently on a hot, humid day.
“We practiced a little bit with it last week,” Zimmer said. “With some of the heat things, [special teams coordinator] Mike Priefer decided to put him in there and he did a nice job with it.”
Asked whether Patterson would have bought into more special teams duties earlier in his career, Zimmer said “probably not.” Patterson has been minimally involved on offense since he was benched two years ago. He played just five snaps Sunday, breaking one tackle on a screen pass for 8 yards.
“He wants to play,” Zimmer said. “He’s doing everything he can to get on the field.”
The Vikings’ latest first-round wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell, was inactive for the first time in Carolina.
He was a healthy scratch after spending most of the first two weeks on the sideline. Treadwell, drafted 23rd overall this spring, has appeared in two snaps without a target.
To leapfrog Charles Johnson as the starting split end, Zimmer said he’d like to see better consistency from Treadwell in practice.
“I still think he’s thinking a little bit about the number of steps to take on each route and stuff like that,” Zimmer said. “Just being at the right depth, things of that sort. He’s doing good. He’ll be fine.”
Johnson has struggled to connect with both Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford this season, catching just three passes for 20 yards on 10 targets.
On the same page
The Vikings defense has thrived through three weeks after returning every starter and 97 percent of their defensive snaps from a season ago. That continuity already has helped them pull out some tricks they hadn’t installed in that week’s game plan.
“I typically don’t do this,” Zimmer said. “We had one of the pressures we practiced a lot, but we didn’t have in the game plan this week. I went over and talked to the guys and said, ‘Hey, you guys good with this?’ And they said ‘Yeah,’ so we ran it.”
• Former Gophers and Caledonia High School receiver Isaac Fruechte was re-signed to the Vikings practice squad on Monday, according to a league source. The team had one spot open after releasing guard Isame Faciane on Friday.