Jeremiah Sirles was solid Sunday when an injury pushed him into the lineup against the Carolina Panthers. He admits he was not perfect, though, and when he did make a mistake, he could feel the glare of the man he replaced, left guard Alex Boone.
“There were times where I knew I got beat on a play and I would look over at Boone and he’d be the first one staring me down, looking at me like, ‘Use your hands!’ or yelling something at me,” Sirles said Tuesday with a laugh. “I love Boone to death. He’s a guy I’ve really latched onto since he’s been here, a guy I’ve looked up to.”
When Boone injured a hip in the second quarter of the 22-10 victory and was knocked out of the game, Sirles got the nod over Zac Kerin. Coach Mike Zimmer explained that it was because Sirles, who manned a few different positions on the offensive line during training camp, got a bunch of snaps at guard leading to the game.
Sirles is a versatile blocker. During his time with the San Diego Chargers, he played every single position on the line during practices or preseason games. His ability to play multiple spots helped him make the Vikings’ 53-man roster this summer.
“The more you can do, the longer you can stay,” the 25-year-old said.
Zimmer indicated that Boone’s hip injury is not major and he was hopeful that Boone might practice this week. If that’s the case, Sirles will shift back to the bench. But he will stay ready, knowing that he is always one play away from getting in the game.
“The hardest part is just staying warm on the sidelines,” Sirles said. “You’ve got to make sure you’re always into the game. You’ve got to make sure you’ve always got a good lather up because you can’t go there cold. I went out there on a third down [on Sunday]. It could have been a critical third down. We didn’t convert. But you just never know what plays in the game are going to make a difference.”
Next man up
The Vikings promoted Willie Beavers to the active roster. Beavers, a rookie guard who was a fourth-round draft pick, did not make the 53-man roster at the end of the preseason. He spent the past three weeks on the practice squad.
Beavers takes the open roster spot the Vikings had after placing running back Adrian Peterson on injured reserve Friday following his knee surgery on Thursday.
The Vikings also officially brought back wide receiver Isaac Fruechte and offensive tackle Sean Hickey to their practice squad and released cornerback Julian Wilson from the practice squad. Guard Isame Faciane, who apparently was listed by accident on the league’s official transaction wire Friday, remains on the practice squad.
Jarius Wright, the oldest and longest-tenured Vikings wide receiver, made his 2016 debut against the Panthers after being a healthy scratch the first two games of the season. Wright played only one snap on offense, though, and was not targeted.
To his credit, Wright has not sulked despite his significantly reduced role. Considering himself the leader of a young receiver group, he believes he must set an example.
“It’s very important to always keep a good face on,” the 26-year-old slot specialist said. “I can’t let me not getting the playing time I’m used to make me act different. I have to remain the same guy and find a way to lead those guys in a different way.”
Second-year defensive end Danielle Hunter has recorded a sack in all three games this season after getting six in 2015 while being the youngest player in the NFL. He is defending the run well, too. Zimmer said it’s because he is playing “a little more freer.”
“Danielle has a chance to be a really good football player,” Zimmer said Monday.