Starting linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks stood and watched practice for a second consecutive day. But Mike Zimmer said after today’s practice that he expects them both to play Sunday against the Raiders.
“They should be good,” the coach said. “We’re just being careful with them.”
Barr injured his left hand against the Rams and Kendricks is still dealing with an injury to his ribs that sidelined him against the Rams. They were the only two Vikings listed as not participating in practice Thursday.
In the event that Barr and Kendricks couldn’t go Sunday, the Vikings would have to shuffle their linebacker group again. Newcomer Jason Trusnik has been practicing at middle linebacker this week and could replace Kendricks there if needed. Either second-year linebacker Brandon Watts or rookie Edmond Robinson could fill in at Barr’s strong-side linebacker spot.
Zimmer said he didn’t know if quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who practiced for a second straight day, had been completely cleared through the NFL’s concussion protocol. But Zimmer did say that he has no doubt that Bridgewater will be able to start against the Raiders, and Bridgewater was a full participant in practice.
Bridgewater suffered his concussion in the fourth quarter of the 21-18 win over the Rams. He was shouldered in the helmet by Rams rookie cornerback Lamarcus Joyner as he slid down after escaping the pocket for a first down. The NFL announces fines on Fridays, but ESPN reported Joyner, who will not be suspended, would be fined $23,152 for the hit.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) participated in practice for a second straight day. So did fellow starters nose tackle Linval Joseph (foot), defensive end Brian Robison (ankle) and cornerback Terence Newman (concussion). Punt returner Marcus Sherels (shoulder), Floyd, Joseph, defensive end Justin Trattou (foot) and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson (shoulder) were listed as limited in practice.