The Vikings might have dodged another blow threatening to keep an already-shuffled offensive line together.
Left guard Alex Boone, who left Sunday’s win in Carolina with a hip injury, underwent an MRI and “should be OK,” according to head coach Mike Zimmer.
“I mean, I won’t know until we get out there and practice,” Zimmer said. “But, from what I understand he’s doing better.”
Boone played just 19 snaps before leaving the game in the second quarter. He’s had an uneven start since the Vikings guaranteed him $10 million on a four-year deal signed in free agency last spring, though the line needs as many healthy bodies as they can after losing Mike Harris this summer to an undisclosed illness and left tackle Matt Kalil to injured reserve with a torn labrum in his right hip.
Up next would be Jeremiah Sirles, who the Vikings acquired a year ago in a trade with San Diego. Sirles made his first appearance against the Panthers, filling in for Boone at left guard for 35 snaps.
“Number one, he plays a lot of positions,” Zimmer said of Sirles. “And we gave him a lot of work at guard this last week anyway, so. He went in there and did a really good job — got to the second level, did a nice job in pass protection.”
Also on the injury front, rookie tight end David Morgan was forced to leave Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Zimmer only said he wouldn’t need to be placed on injured reserve.
In other news, Zimmer said he’s already thrice traded messages with one of his mentors and Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells after the Vikings’ statement win against the reigning NFC champion Panthers.
“He texted me right after the game and he texted me this morning at 5:30, and he called me after that,” Zimmer said. “I’ve talked to him three times, I guess. He’s giving me advice.”
The 24-hour rule of moving onto the next week is apparently more like 12 hours for Parcells.
“He’s not real complementary all the time, but he’s telling me how we keep going,” Zimmer added. “He didn’t tell me if he watched the game or not, we just talked about moving forward.”
Retired and up at 5:30 a.m.?
“Oh yeah, he said he’s so invested in this team he had to go get a workout in to get the stress relief,” Zimmer said.
On takeaways, the Vikings’ +8 differential leads the NFL: “You know we’re really careful about it. I want our team to be a fundamentally sound, disciplined football team and I think more times you can get pressure on the quarterback, it allows you to do those things. But some of it is … you’re going to get opportunities in every ball game, whether it’s a tipped ball or we were fortunate [Terence] Newman caught one, we were fortunate Trae Waynes caught the one on the sideline. A lot of the times, the receivers are so much better doing those things than we are, but a lot of times it comes down to pressure and the quarterback throwing it a little bit behind the guy and also being tight in coverage, too, that helps.”
On defensive continuity: “I typically don’t do this, but in the last ball game, we had one of the pressures that we practiced a lot, but didn’t have in the game plan this week. I went over to the guys and said, ‘Hey, are you guys good with this?’ They said yeah, so we ran it.”
On stopping the run: “I think Shamar Stephen has made a big impact on that, obviously along with Linval [Joseph]. Our ends are playing well and the linebackers have been doing a good job in the fits. There’s been times the safeties get involved pretty good, too. I think it’s been a combined effort, but I think if you said one thing, I would say Shamar Stephen has really solidified that.”