Earlier today we discussed the role injuries could play in this week’s Vikings-Chiefs matchup, focusing mostly on the bad luck Kansas City has had with injuries but also touching on the fact that LB E.J. Henderson and RB Adrian Peterson both missed the week’s first practice on Wednesday.
All indications were that both Henderson and Peterson would be fine and available for Sunday, and now there are more positive indications after Thursday’s practice. Both Henderson (knee) and Peterson (calf) were full participants in practice.
A pair of starters in the secondary remained limited participants for Kansas City, with CB Brandon Flowers battling an ankle injury and S Jon McGraw dealing with a shin ailment.
Others news on the Vikings injury report included S Jamarca Sanford being added with a thigh injury; he was a full participant, however. CBs Asher Allen (toe) and Chris Cook (groin) were full participants, DT Kevin Williams (foot) was a full participant and both S Tyrell Johnson (hip) and TE Jim Kleinsasser (elbow) were limited.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, E.J. Henderson, Jamarca Sanford
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A lot of you have commented here on the vikings.com Blog recently that Vikings Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac does not take a loquacious approach to his weekly press conferences. It’s true, Pagac does tend to hold his cards close to the vest.
But hey, he’s been a successful coach for a long time and you don’t keep at job as an assistant coach at Ohio State University for 23 seasons by divulging secrets and strategies. On top of that, let’s give him credit for not being one who spews out hyperbole just to pass time and give the standard, run-of-the-mill quote.
With all that said, there were a few interesting notes to come out of Pagac’s press conference on Thursday. Here they are…
Not surprised by Robison
There’s always a natural level of concern when a team loses a starter, and that was certainly the case for Vikings fans when DE Ray Edwards left the club via free agency this past offseason. Brian Robison, who had been an important member of the DL rotation since entering the League as a rookie in 2007, was tabbed as the replacement and he was even given a contract extension during the offseason.
Concerns about Robison not being able to replace Edwards have reduced, if not gone away, after the first 3 games. Robison is off to a good start in 2011, having tallied 11 tackles and 1.0 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and 1 pass defensed. He’s gotten to the opposing QB constantly and has 10 QB hits.
Robison’s fast start may surprise some, but it doesn’t surprise his defensive coordinator.
“No, Brian Robison’s a good football player,” Pagac said. “He’s one of our top fifteen, sixteen guys on our football team. We expect those things out of Brian. He’s doing a good job right now.”
Williams right back into the swing of things
Last week marked the return of DT Kevin Williams to the lineup following a two-game suspension to begin the season. It’s no coincidence that the Vikings registered 5 sacks against the Lions in the same game that Williams made his return. When Williams is in the game, opposing offenses generally allocate two blockers to him each play, which gives other defensive linemen one-on-one opportunities. And, Williams was in the game a bit more than Pagac and the Vikings coaching staff expected against Detroit.
“Thought he did well,” Pagac said. “We’re happy to have him back. Obviously we think he’s a great football player, and we expect him to continue to improve as we go on.
“He probably played more than we thought (he would). He probably played probably fifteen, twenty snaps more than we thought he would’ve. But he was in great shape and he was able to go. Whatever he did during his two weeks off, he did a good job of staying in shape and working out.”
Asked if he expects Williams will have any limitations this week because of conditioning after missing the first two games or because of his foot injury, Pagac’s answer was (predictably) simple.
“He’s back to work.”
Encouraged by Everson Griffen
DE Everson Griffen has quickly become one of the Vikings best special teams players. And now he’s also starting to find a niche on defense. The Vikings have experimented with Griffen in a variety of roles on the defense, including standing him up as a LB or sorts.
Griffen was in this role occasionally against Detroit, and Pagac indicated he was satisfied with what he saw, but he’s also expecting improvement.
“I thought Everson did a great job in the game,” Pagac said. “He did a good job of rushing. What he did in the drop part of it was fine. We’ll continue to get better at that. It was one of the first times we did it with live bullets. We expect him to get better and better.”
Tags: Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Fred Pagac, Kevin Williams
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 28 Comments »
Make sure to catch Vikings RB Adrian Peterson on “The Rich Eisen Podcast” this week on NFL Network and NFL.com. The shows debuts on NFL Network today (Thursday, September 29) at 3:30 p.m. CT and then re-airs at various times throughout the weekend. You can also listen to the Podcast on NFL.com or via iTunes.
For complete info, click here to visit NFL.com.
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The Vikings and Chiefs are both off to disappointing 0-3 starts, and they’ve gotten to this point in different ways. The Vikings have built double-digit leads in each of their games, only to lose nail-biters in the 4th quarter and overtime. The Chiefs have suffered through a pair of blowouts and one nail-biter of their own, but adding salt to the wounds is the number of players they’ve had go down to injury.
Given the Chiefs misfortune with injuries so far this season and with 7 players listed on the Vikings first injury report of the week, it makes sense for us to take a quick look at how injuries could impact Sunday’s game between these two clubs.
For the Vikings
It’s natural to be concerned when you see both LB E.J. Henderson and RB Adrian Peterson on the week’s initial injury report and listed as “did not participate.” Henderson is dealing with a sore knee and Peterson is listed with a calf injury. But indications are that their injuries won’t keep them off the field on Sunday, with Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier saying Peterson will be fine and Henderson could return to practice as early as today.
A pair of CBs – Asher Allen (toe) and Chris Cook (groin) – were on the injury report again this week, but both played through their injuries last week and both were full participants on Wednesday. Kevin Williams (foot) is also dealing with an ailment but played through the game on Sunday and was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
S Tyrell Johnson (hip) and TE Jim Kleinsasser (elbow) were also on the injury report and listed as limited participants. No word on the severity of those injuries, but if they’re limited or full participants today, expect them to be available for Sunday’s game.
For the Chiefs
There isn’t quite as much optimism for the Chiefs on the injury front. They lost their best offensive player – RB Jamaal Charles – to a season-ending knee injury in Week 2, and they lost one of their top two defensive players – S Eric Berry – to a season-ending injury in Week 1. On top of that, starting TE Tony Moeaki suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season started and WR Jonathan Baldwin, a 1st-round pick last April, has been sidelined with a thumb injury since the preseason. So before this week’s first injury report was issued, the Chiefs were already hurting.
With Berry already out, the Chiefs secondary is now dealing with two more injured starters. Talented CB Brandon Flowers was a limited participant on Wednesday with an ankle injury, but he told reporters afterward that the ankle felt better than he anticipated and that he’ll push it even harder in today’s practice. The other injured starter is S Jon McGraw, who injured his shin last week against San Diego. McGraw was also a limited participant in practice on Wednesday.
Baldwin has been steadily progressing in recent weeks and his return could come as soon as this week. He traveled with the team to both Detroit in Week 2 and San Diego in Week 3. He hasn’t been a full participant in practice yet, but if he is this week that might indicate his return will be Sunday against the Vikings.
Ultimately, with both teams trying to avoid an 0-4 start, expect players to grind out practices this week and push hard to be available on Sunday. At this point it would be a surprise if either Flowers or McGraw didn’t play for the Chiefs, and as discussed above it sounds like Henderson and Peterson will be good to go for the Vikings.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Asher Allen, Chris Cook, E.J. Henderson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 51 Comments »