It appears the Vikings will be adding a much-needed big cornerback to their gameday roster just in time to take on the twin towers of Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess at Carolina on Sunday.
Xavier Rhodes, the team’s top cover guy, made it through his third straight practice without any complications involving the right knee that kept him out of the first two games of the season. He was limited in all three practices and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game but is expected to play.
“There’s a good possibility,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
That’s good news considering Rhodes’ talent level, long arms and 6-1, 218-pound body. The Panthers present one of the biggest receiving tandems in the league in the 6-5, 245-pound Benjamin and the 6-4, 225-pound backup Funchess.
“[Benjamin] has got the size of a tight end and he’s got good speed for a receiver his size,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “He does a good job in the route tree as far as the routes they’re asking him to run. … When he gets down the field, he’s got the ability to jump up and get it.”
Quality depth at corner is something Zimmer has enjoyed the past two seasons. Trae Waynes, the 2015 first-round draft pick, started the first two games in place of Rhodes and intercepted Aaron Rodgers in the closing two minutes to preserve last Sunday’s win over the Packers. Rookie second-round draft pick Mackensie Alexander also has seen action in the first two games.
“We look for a certain style of corner here, and I think that always helps,” Zimmer said. “I think this Mackensie Alexander is going to be a good player. He’s gotten in both these two ballgames a little bit. I don’t think the stage has been too big for him. He’ll go compete. We got Trae, who’s obviously has done a good job, [Terence] Newman, and hopefully we get Xavier back. I think that’s a pretty good group.”
Rhodes said his knee “is getting better each and every day.” If he’s healthy enough to play, he is expected to start. But Zimmer wasn’t in a sharing mood when asked what his plans were for Rhodes, Newman and Waynes.
“I always try to have a plan,” Zimmer said. “So we’ll see how it goes.”
Peterson to IR
Adrian Peterson, who underwent surgery on Thursday to repair the meniscus in his right knee, was placed on injured reserve. His recovery time could take three to four months.
Teams can bring one player back from injured reserve, but the player has to miss at least eight weeks. Teams don’t have to designate a particular player ahead of time.
Peterson would be eligible to return in Week 11.
Kalil has surgery
Left tackle Matt Kalil, who was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, had “successful surgery on Thursday to repair a labrum tear in his right hip,” the Vikings said in a release. The procedure was done by team physician Chris Larson at Twin Cities Orthopedics.
Meanwhile, the Vikings also announced that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd’s arthroscopic right knee surgery on Wednesday was performed by James Andrews at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola, Fla.
Besides Rhodes, another player who appears ready to make his season debut after a knee injury is backup tight end MyCole Pruitt. Like Rhodes, Pruitt was limited in three straight practices this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday.
Meanwhile, receiver Stefon Diggs (groin) was on the injury report as having no participation on Friday. Zimmer said it was for precaution only and that he’s confident Diggs will play.
On the injury report with full participation on Friday were fullback Zach Line (neck), tight end Kyle Rudolph (groin), linebacker Eric Kendricks (ankle), defensive end Danielle Hunter (knee) and running back Jerick McKinnon (toe).
• Green Bay’s Mike Daniels was fined $18,231 for his roughing-the-passer penalty on Sam Bradford in Sunday’s game.