Vikings rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. strung together a second consecutive practice Thursday, inching closer to a return from a quad injury suffered Sept. 11 against the Packers.

Booth, a second-round pick out of Clemson, remained limited by the injury, which is the latest for the 22-year-old who also dealt with core muscle and ankle issues this summer. Coaches expect Booth to assist on special teams when healthy, jumping back onto a similar developmental track as first-round safety Lewis Cine before his season-ending injury.

"He was sidelined by some temporary setbacks, but he's a resilient guy," defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "His first contributions, he's a tough special teams player and he'll bring that."

Booth could eventually climb up the depth chart, but for now cornerback Cameron Dantzler is expected to hold onto that job. Dantzler, the third-year corner, has had an uneven start to the season, but Donatell commended how the corners are tackling on the perimeter and Dantzler had three deflections against the Saints last week.

Before the quad injury, which Booth suffered on his second snap on special teams in Week 1, the young corner had showed off his brashness with aggressive coverage in camp that was equally disruptive and flagged.

"The first thing, he's tough," Donatell said. "He's really tough and he's got good skills, and it means a lot to him. Everything points in the direction of a positive output."

Edge rusher Za'Darius Smith (knee) remained limited. Dantzler (hip) was downgraded to limited after practicing fully on Wednesday. Receiver Jalen Nailor (hamstring) and tight end Ben Ellefson (groin) were added to the injury report as limited.

Bears running back David Montgomery (ankle) returned to practice Thursday and was limited. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quad), defensive back Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) and linebacker Sterling Weatherford (illness) did not practice.

'The biggest challenge for Lew'

Special teams coordinator Matt Daniels said he suffered "the exact same injury" as Cine when he broke his tibia and fibula and dislocated an ankle while he was a Rams safety in 2013. Daniels said he connected with Cine over the phone and shared his experience with recovery, which included leaning on family and friends.

"They provided me with the support that I needed mentally in order to help me get through it," Daniels said, "and that's going to be the biggest challenge for Lew is the mental aspect and not asking himself why is this happening to me."

Daniels' injury occurred in early September 2013, and he said he was recovered and playing in the following year's preseason.

Red-zone issues

Quarterback Kirk Cousins said the offense needs to play better, starting with himself, while the Vikings rank 28th in points per red-zone trip through four games, according to Football Outsiders. Tight end Johnny Mundt dropped a third-down pass, they committed three red-zone penalties and Cousins went too quickly through his reads and missed an open Justin Jefferson in the end zone against the Saints.

"Taking a tick longer to make sure that, 'Hey, if I've got him, let's take him as opposed to moving through the progression,'" Cousins said. "That's a place you got to tighten the screws down. You got to execute better."

'On the brink'

Running back Dalvin Cook's longest run remains stuck on the 16-yard scamper he had in Week 1 against Green Bay. He felt like he was close to a big one in the second quarter against the Saints, when linebacker Demario Davis stuck out his foot as Cook hit a gap between center Garrett Bradbury and right guard Ed Ingram.

"He tripped me, clipped me. It was smooth," Cook said. "It was a good, veteran play. I'll give that to him. But that's the most positive and encouraging thing about this offense. We're still on the brink of getting the run game to where it needs to go."


  • Donatell said edge rusher Danielle Hunter is "getting used" to his new roles in a 3-4 system as he has one sack in four games: "Two games ago, I was thinking he was beating guys so fast and balls coming out, but every guy that's ever made that transition, the first month looks about like that. That's pretty normal."
  • Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips on Nailor, the sixth-round receiver who caught the 13-yard pass to convert a fake punt against the Saints: "He was coached well before he got to us and kind of just came in, right from the start, was all business and the guy that as a rookie was moving positions very early."
  • Receiver Adam Thielen on playing three home divisional games this early in the season: "I do not like it, personally. ... When you first see the schedule, do you look at those last few games to see where they're at? Yeah, for sure. And you don't really want to play at Lambeau and you don't really want to play at Chicago late in the season."
  • Linebacker Ryan Connelly re-signed to the practice squad on Thursday.