MINNEAPOLIS -- On Aug. 12, Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said tight end Chase Ford was "about 10 days away" from returning from a broken foot. The coach wasn't far off; Ford was activated from the physically unable to perform list on Monday and also took part in his first practice since minicamp.
Now, the trick is to see how much progress Ford can make in the next few days. It seems likely the Vikings would put him on their final 53-man roster if he's healthy, but he'll probably have to prove that between now and the final round of cuts this weekend. He'll presumably play on Thursday night in the Vikings' preseason finale against Tennessee, and since it'll be the only preseason action Ford will get, it'll double as his final chance to make an impression.
"We’ve got to see him on the field, but from the rehab reports that we’ve been getting, he can do everything," Zimmer said. "We’ll have to see what kind of condition he is in, his recall for the plays. He’s been out here and watching but that doesn’t mean that he knows the plays and being able to execute them and what kind of blocking he does. These next 13 days (between Monday and the Vikings' regular season opener) will be important for him."
Ford, who caught five passes for 43 yards in the Vikings' season finale and hauled in a 37-yard pass from Matt Cassel last Dec. 15 against Philadelphia, looked like he could be a decent receiver over the middle. He probably won't get much, if any, time to work with Cassel on Thursday night, but other than Kyle Rudolph, he might be the most viable pass-catching option among the Vikings' tight ends. Assuming he can show he's healthy, it would seem there's a spot available for Ford to claim.