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All Systems Go For Peterson; Henderson Expected To Play

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 30, 2011 – 11:53 am

Both LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and RB Adrian Peterson (calf) appeared on the week’s initial injury report, and it sounds like both players will also be appearing at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to play the Chiefs.

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier indicated that there are no concerns about Peterson’s status for Sunday. He was kicked in the calf during last week’s game against Detroit but made it through today’s practice with no issues. Henderson has a sore knee that’s been bugging him for a few weeks, but Frazier said it’s expected that he’ll be able to play on Sunday as well.

No word on the other 6 players listed on the Vikings injury report this week. But if anything major develops we’ll be sure to let you know.


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Henderson, Peterson Return To Practice; Sanford Added To Injury Report

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 29, 2011 – 2:51 pm

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.


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A Look At How Injuries Impact Sunday’s Vikings-Chiefs Contest

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 29, 2011 – 7:46 am

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.


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All Hands On Deck For Battle Against Lions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2011 – 6:39 am

The Vikings are at 0-2 after a pair of tale-of-two-halves losses to begin the season and today they have an NFC North matchup against the 2-0 Detroit Lions. On many different levels, this is a big game for the Vikings.

The good news is it looks like the Vikings will have all hands on deck for today’s battle.

The Vikings had 8 players listed on the Friday injury report, but 7 of them were given the “probable” designation and just 1 was “questionable.” CB Chris Cook is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said he made it through the week just fine and should be good to go for today.

A pair of starting defensive linemen – Jared Allen and Kevin Williams – were on the injury report, with Allen feeling soreness in his shoulder and Williams still dealing with a foot injury. Both players are probable for the game, and Williams was a full participant in practice all week while Allen was limited on Wednesday but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday.

WRs Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins should both be good to go. Harvin missed Thursday’s practice with an illness but was back at full strength on Friday, while Jenkins is listed with a groin injury but didn’t miss any practice over the week.

The other 3 players listed were LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and CBs Asher Allen (toe) and Marcus Sherels (chest). Allen and Sherels both finished the week as full participants in practice and Henderson, who was limited all week in practice, is expected to play and start today.


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E.J. Henderson To Be A Game-Time Decision On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 16, 2011 – 12:12 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier met with reporters after practice on Friday and said that LB E.J. Henderson was held out for a second consecutive day of practice with soreness in his knee. Frazier also said that Henderson will be a game-time decision on Sunday and that a final decision is likely to be made after he goes through an on-field workout Sunday morning.

Henderson was not listed on the week’s initial injury report (Wednesday), but he woke up on Thursday with soreness in the knee and continues to receive around-the-clock treatment so he can be ready to play on Sunday in the team’s home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Henderson is unable to play, his younger brother, Erin, would slide over to start at middle LB, with Kenny Onatolu filling in at outside LB to occupy the spot vacated by Erin.

Frazier said the team wants to be “cautious” with the injury, which is why he’s been held out of practice the past two days. The swelling has subsided some, but Henderson is still “tender,” according to Frazier. An X-ray was taken of Henderson’s knee and it showed no structural damage. Also, the knee soreness is in the same leg that Henderson injured in 2009, but Frazier said there is no connection between the two injuries. [UPDATE: Jeremy Folwer of the Pioneer Press, among others, reports via Twitter that the swelling is indeed a side effect of the surgery he underwent for his leg in 2009]


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E.J. Henderson Held Out Of Thursday’s Practice

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 15, 2011 – 2:33 pm

Vikings middle LB E.J. Henderson was a scratch from Thursday’s practice. His absence is notable because he was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and was not listed on the week’s initial injury report.

Head Coach Leslie Frazier met with reporters after practice and said Henderson has a sore knee and that he’ll have an X-ray taken. Xavier Adibi and Erin Henderson stepped in for Henderson during practice. When Erin Henderson played middle LB, Kenny Onatolu stepped in at outside (weak-side) LB.

It goes without saying how important Henderson is to the Vikings defense. The injury is compounded by the fact that primary backup middle LB Jasper Brinkley has already been placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

 


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Community Tuesday: Vikings Help Contribute $200K To Local School

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 13, 2011 – 12:36 pm

The Vikings don’t have practice on Tuesday, but many of them will be working on a football field anyway. Several Vikings players will join Vikings Executive Director of Community Relations/Youth Football Brad Madson, Viktor the Viking, the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and other members of the organization to celebrate a $200,000 investment into the refurbishment of Washburn High School’s MacQuarrie Field.

The $200,000 donation comes from the Vikings in partnership with the NFL and LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) as part of an NFL Grassroots program grant. The money will be used to replace the natural field at Washburn High’s MacQuarrie Field with synthetic turf as part of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) ‘Team Up For Turf’ campaign, a commitment to raise $2.2 million to convert the athletic fields at Washburn and Henry high schools to state-of-the-art synthetic turf fields.

Vikings players who will take part in the ceremony include Everson Griffen, E.J. Henderson, Marcus Sherels and John Sullivan. Also participating in today’s event will be Vikings VP of Public Affairs/Stadium Development Lester Bagley and Pro Scout Jeff Robinson, who is a leader within the Vikings organization in working with youth football programs.

The NFL Grassroots Program is part of the NFL Charities Youth Football Fund, a $150 million effort of the NFL and its teams – such as the Vikings – in partnership with the NFL Players Association to ensure youth across the country have the opportunity to enjoy the game of football. The NFL’s partnership with LISC has resulted in the construction or renovation of 243 football fields nationwide the past 13 years.


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Hendersons Set To Become Third Brother Tandem At LB In NFL History

Posted by cjsiewert on September 9, 2011 – 3:09 pm

The NFL has a storied history of brothers playing in the NFL, but it’s not common when the brothers play the same position for the same team during the same season. In fact, there’s been only 15 sets of brothers to do so and only two at the LB position – Niko and Pete Noga with the 1987 St. Louis Cardinals, and Bill and Joe Osmanski with the Chicago Bears from 1944-45.

E.J. and Erin Henderson are in line to start at the middle and outside LB positions, respectively, which would make them the third brother tandem at LB for the same team during the same season.

E.J. has been a constant on the Vikings defense since his rookie season 8 years ago, but for his younger brother Erin, it’s been a different path to be in line for the starting role. Erin spent his first 3 seasons primarily as a special teams player and backup LB, but his hard work throughout training camp this year seems to be paying off.

In the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, Erin registered a team-high 10 tackles and he continued to impress throughout the preseason. The 4th-year OLB was fundamental in a goal-line stand in which the Vikings defense stymied the Seahawks four times after a 1st-and-goal from the MIN 2.

The prospect of having a brother tandem at LB may be exciting for Vikings fans, but anyone with a brother may know, it’s not always easy to agree or use the most effective way of communication. To Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, it’s of no concern.

“From the day Erin [Henderson] arrived,” Frazier said. “They [E.J. and Erin] have a great relationship which is what you hope for when you’re talking about brothers. Which is one of the reasons we weren’t overly concerned when we signed Erin because sometimes that can be a negative as opposed to a positive, and in this case it’s been an absolute positive.”

Team chemistry is an attribute fixed to many great teams and Frazier also sees that as a positive connection between the Henderson brothers.

“You would think there would be some natural chemistry there when you talk about brothers,” Frazier acknowledged. “Being able to relate and talk about assignments and what it takes to be successful in our League. I would think that would come easy for E.J. to share with him [Erin] as opposed to a guy he’s never met before so I would think it’s a benefit for Erin and a benefit for E.J., as well wanting to see his brother succeed which in turn should benefit our football team.”

We’ve witnessed great defensive units over Vikings history such as the Purple People Eaters and the Williams Wall, but are we now in store for a new era of great defensive play? And what to call them? The Bash Brothers, Two-Headed Viking or simply The Brothers Henderson? Let us know what you think.


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Emptying Out The Notebook Before Preparations For Texans Begin

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 29, 2011 – 11:24 am

The Vikings will hit the outdoor practice fields at Winter Park Monday afternoon to begin preparation for the preseason finale against the Houston Texans on Thursday night. But before we focus on the Texans and Leslie Frazier’s press conference later today, let’s empty out the notebook from Saturday night’s game…

– We’ll focus exclusively on the defensive side of the ball here and first mention DE Brian Robison, who played well in my opinion. Robison pressured Romo on the Cowboys first 3rd-down play, he made a nice play on Dallas’ second offensive series when he stayed home to snuff out an end-around by WR Kevin Ogletree and then put a great inside spin move on RT Tyron Smith – a 1st-round pick in last April’s draft – to pressure Romo on a 3rd-down play late in the 1st quarter that resulted in an incompletion and Dallas FG. There was also a play on 1st and 10 with about 9:20 to play in the 2nd quarter where RB Felix Jones ran wide right and Robison did a great job of stringing the play out while being blocked by Smith.

– LB E.J. Henderson has had a solid training camp and definitely passes the eye test this preseason. He appeared to be in mid-season form on Saturday night, too. Henderson knifed though the Cowboys offensive line on the fourth play of the game to stop a cutback by Jones. Then, he did it again against RB Tashard Choice on a 1st-and-20 with just over 3 minutes to play in the 1st half.

– CB Cedric Griffin saw his first extended action since coming back from a second torn ACL early last season. Dallas of course targeted Griffin early and often, but all things considered I thought Griffin help up very well. Romo went after Griffin on the first play of the game with a quick pass to WR Dez Bryant, but Griffin made a good play and was able to drop Bryant for a gain of just 1 yard. Also, Griffin was able to make a good open-field tackle on Jones early in the 2nd quarter, which was an impressive play because Jones is one of the shiftiest players in the League and Griffin took him down in wide open space.

– DE Jared Allen was flirting with pressuring Romo for most of the 1st half but was just never able to get home, until the first play after the 2-minute warning on 3rd down when he used his speed to get past the LT and force Romo to vacate the pocket. Rookie DT Christian Ballard was there to snag Romo as he tried to get away from Allen. While Allen hasn’t registered a bunch of sacks this preseason, he had one of the best training camps of any Vikings player and he looks explosive coming off the ball in games.


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Vikings Lose Preseason Opener To Titans

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 13, 2011 – 9:49 pm

The Vikings dropped a 14-3 decision to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday Night at LP Field in Nashville. The game represented each club’s preseason opener and each club surely came away knowing there is still plenty of work to be done before the regular season begins on September 11.

Both teams gave their starters the quick hook, so as to minimize their exposure to injury. That combined with the fact that offenses are even more behind pace than usual because of the lockout – which cancelled all offseason work – didn’t give fans a good look at what their club will look like in 2011.

Both the Vikings and Titans are featuring new, veteran starting QBs and both guys didn’t see much action. For the Vikings, Donovan McNabb went 6 of 11 for 40 yards with no TDs or INTs. He actually looked fairly sharp, converting a couple of 1st downs and using his athleticism to evade the pass rush a couple of times. One 1st-down completion was to WR Percy Harvin, a connection Vikings fans are itching to see more of once the season begins.

Matt Hasselbeck is the Titans new passer and he wasn’t any more sensational in his debut performance. Hasselbeck was 5 of 6 on the night for 55 yards with no TDs or INTs. Actually, the Titans relied on their running game for the most part in the first half. RB Jamie Harper had 8 carries for 27 yards and even found the endzone once.

Both of Tennessee’s TDs came in the 2nd quarter. Rookie QB Jake Locker entered the game once Hasselbeck left and he connected with Yamon Figurs for a 45-yard scoring toss on what turned out to be a near-botched play. Locker fumbled the snap, chased the ball down, picked it up and connected with Figurs, who had run behind the Vikings secondary when CB Chris Cook hesitated at the sight of the fumble. Tennessee’s second TD came on Harper’s two-yard run just moments later.

The Vikings finally got on the board in the 3rd quarter when Ryan Longwell was true on a 37-yard FG that capped an 11-play, 59-yard drive led by Joe Webb. Speaking of Webb, he came in once Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier decided to pull McNabb. Webb, who was quick to pull the ball down and vacate the pocket, was 4 of 8 for 45 yards with no TDs and 1 INT. But he did look good when running with the ball and he finished the night with 33 rushing yards on 5 carries.

Ponder was the third Vikings QB to enter and he flashed plenty of potential. While he wasn’t able to lead the offense to any points, the Vikings did go for it twice on 4th down when they were in FG range. Also, Ponder had two completions of 10 yards – including his first throw of the night, which was to fellow rookie Kyle Rudolph – and he also had another 16-yard completion. It was encouraging to see Ponder running around and making plays, especially with some of the plays coming downfield.

Defensively, it was new starting outside LB Erin Henderson who led the way. He had 10 tackles, which was far and away the team high. His older brother, E.J. Henderson, was tied with three others for second on the team in tackles with 3. E.J. Henderson also had a forced fumble.

There’s much more to go over from Saturday night’s game, including: a solid performance overall by the Vikings special teams group, RB Lorenzo Booker showing up in the box score, Jaymar Johnson taking a step forward and a couple of rookies showing up to make plays.

We’ll cover all of that and more right here on the vikings.com over the next 24 hours, so stay tuned.


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