NFC North: Michael Mauti

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- On Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings moved closer to getting Chad Greenway back on the field, as the linebacker was a full participant in practice for the second straight day. Greenway, who hasn't played since fracturing three ribs Sept. 21 against New Orleans, seems on track to return Sunday against Buffalo, and coach Mike Zimmer sounded optimistic about that possibility Thursday.

Greenway
"Yesterday, we were in pads and he felt pretty good," Zimmer said. "We've done another test on this, to see where he's at healing-wise, and he looks pretty good. I'm going to have to trust him and what he says."

The Vikings were without Gerald Hodges again Thursday because of a hamstring injury, but Zimmer didn't sound apprehensive about the possibility of putting Greenway back in a full-time role if he's healthy enough to go Sunday.

"My thought is, if he can play, he can play," Zimmer said.

Linebacker Michael Mauti missed Thursday's practice with an illness, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd sat out with a lingering ankle injury after being limited Wednesday, and defensive end Corey Wootton missed his second consecutive day of practice with a low-back injury. But Zimmer wasn't concerned about any of the three being unavailable for Sunday's game.

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph was limited with an ankle injury, and cornerback Jabari Price was limited with a hamstring injury after missing Wednesday's practice altogether. Safety Harrison Smith (ankle), tight end Chase Ford (foot) and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (hip) were again full participants.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway returned to the practice field for the first time since he broke three ribs in the team's Sept. 21 game against the New Orleans Saints, and coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings would make a decision on Saturday about whether Greenway could play on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Greenway
The Vikings officially listed Greenway as doubtful for Sunday's game. If Greenway did return from a two-game absence on Sunday, it would be in a situational role, not as an every-down player, Zimmer said.

That would likely put Gerald Hodges in line to start a third consecutive game at weakside linebacker. Greenway said his ribs are continuing to feel better, and Zimmer said this week that Greenway's broken hand isn't a major concern at this point, but for a player who rarely, if ever, comes off the field when he's healthy, it will probably take a little more time to return to such a major role.

"The pain is in the breathing," Greenway said. "I just haven't done anything to push myself for a couple weeks, so that was the worst (part). I've been feeling really good, and better and better every day."

Safety Harrison Smith was able to do more in practice on Friday than he was Thursday, and still is in line to play on Sunday after spraining his ankle on Oct. 2 against Green Bay. The Vikings officially listed Smith as questionable.

"I'm a little bit surprised (at how quick I've recovered)," Smith said. "You always think you're going to heal fast as an athlete -- you think you're going to wake up tomorrow, and it's going to be fine. That's kind of what you expect, even though it's kind of insane. That's just how we think. Right now, it's stable. As long as it's stable and I can play, that's the goal."

Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (hip) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (elbow) participated in full on Friday. Both are probable for Sunday's game. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (ankle), linebacker Michael Mauti (foot), running back Jerick McKinnon (ankle) and running back Matt Asiata (groin) are also probable.
MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Minnesota Vikings still haven't decided whether quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will play on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers, they've made plans to be without linebacker Chad Greenway for a second straight game.

Greenway
Greenway, who is dealing with a broken rib and broken hand, was ruled out for Thursday's game, after he saw his 90-game starting streak come to an end on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Greenway's absence means Gerald Hodges will again start at weak-side linebacker against the Packers.

Greenway and tight end Kyle Rudolph -- who is expected to miss a total of six weeks after sports hernia surgery last week -- are the only Vikings players who will definitely miss the game. Bridgewater was listed as questionable with a sprained left ankle.

The seven other players on the Vikings' injury report -- Captain Munnerlyn, Jerick McKinnon, Josh Robinson, Michael Mauti, Brandon Watts, Rodney Smith and Jerome Felton -- were full participants in Wednesday's practice and are probable for Thursday's game.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- While Teddy Bridgewater and Chad Greenway again did not participate in the Minnesota Vikings' practice on Tuesday, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned from a suspected case of food poisoning.

Munnerlyn
Munnerlyn practiced in a limited capacity for the Vikings, who are preparing to play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday night, and it appears the cornerback will be ready for the game after sitting out on Monday.

Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) and running back Jerick McKinnon (ankle) were again limited, and linebacker Michael Mauti (foot), wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring), linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) and fullback Jerome Felton (knee) were full participants.

If Bridgewater does any throwing in practice, it would likely happen tomorrow, but the Vikings could easily list him as questionable on their final injury report and give themselves until Thursday night to let Bridgewater's ankle heal. They've been giving first-team snaps to Christian Ponder all week, and if they're confident in Bridgewater's ability to handle the game plan for Thursday -- which Mike Zimmer indicated he was -- they could buy him more time to recover.

The Vikings will also have to determine whether Greenway has recovered enough from a broken hand -- and more importantly, a broken rib -- to play Thursday night. Zimmer said the team would get a better sense of Greenway's status on Wednesday; if he can't go, Gerald Hodges would likely start again at weak-side linebacker.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings were without three prominent defensive players -- linebacker Chad Greenway, defensive back Josh Robinson and defensive tackle Linval Joseph -- on Wednesday, and a fourth (safety Harrison Smith) was limited with a knee injury.

Greenway, who played this past Sunday's game with a broken hand and left it with a broken rib, wasn't scheduled to practice on Wednesday, anyway, after his wife, Jennifer Capista, gave birth to the couple's third child on Tuesday. Coach Mike Zimmer said Greenway likely wouldn't be able to play if he was in the same state he was at the end of Sunday's game, and Gerald Hodges will likely get most of the work at weakside linebacker in practice this week, as he did last week. Once Greenway left the game, rookie linebacker Anthony Barr said he took over the responsibility of relaying the Vikings' defensive play calls in the huddle.

Joseph, who missed practice with a shoulder injury, had shoulder surgery in the offseason, though it's not known if his current injury is related to his previous ailment. Robinson left Sunday's game when his recurring hamstring issues came back, and he missed practice again on Wednesday with the same problem.

In addition to Smith, linebacker Brandon Watts was limited with a knee injury. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder), linebacker Michael Mauti (foot) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) were listed on the injury report, but practiced in full.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer still sounded optimistic on Thursday he'd have Chad Greenway on the field this Sunday in New Orleans, despite Greenway's broken left hand. But the Vikings have injuries to several starters to track on the other side of the ball.

Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was added to Thursday's injury report after being limited in practice with a chest injury, and tight end Kyle Rudolph was again limited in practice with an abdominal injury. Right tackle Phil Loadholt was a limited participant with an ankle injury for the second straight day, though Zimmer thought Loadholt would be ready to go for Sunday's game.

"He'll be fine," Zimmer said. "He's tough."

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) returned to full participation on Thursday, while defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was a limited participant after missing Wednesday's practice. Linebacker Brandon Watts also worked in a limited capacity for the second consecutive day, after returning from a knee injury.

"He's got great speed," Zimmer said of Watts. "He's a young, developing player that I think has a great future in this league. He's got some coverage ability and it's hard to find linebackers with coverage ability nowadays, the way the league is."

Linebacker Michael Mauti was a full participant with a foot injury for the second straight day, and could be in line to make his regular-season debut on Sunday. If Greenway is unable to go, Mauti or Gerald Hodges might start in his place at weakside linebacker, but Zimmer said he thinks Greenway is improving.

"He feels a lot better today," Zimmer said. "He didn't practice, but he feels a lot better. He was running around pretty good, so we'll see how he does tomorrow."
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings were without linebacker Chad Greenway -- because of a broken hand and a rib injury -- at practice on Wednesday, as well as right tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder).

Tight end Kyle Rudolph and cornerback Xavier Rhodes joined those three players on a list of Vikings starters who missed practice time on Wednesday. Rudolph was limited with an abdominal injury, which showed up on the Vikings' injury report for the first time, while Rhodes was limited because of the groin injury he played with last Sunday. Coach Mike Zimmer said Rhodes will be "fine" to play on Sunday, after he played last week's game against the New England Patriots.

Linebacker Brandon Watts, who missed the Vikings' first two games with a knee injury, also practiced in a limited capacity for the first time this season. Wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) was limited, and linebacker Michael Mauti (foot) was a full participant.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Coach Mike Zimmer continued to sound optimistic on Friday that cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd -- who both did some work in practice on Friday -- would be able to play for the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Rhodes
Floyd
Rhodes was officially listed as questionable with a groin injury, as Floyd was with a shoulder injury, but Zimmer said there is a "good chance" Rhodes will play, and added Floyd is feeling "much better" after getting hit in the shoulder late in Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Linebacker Brandon Watts, who missed last week's game with a knee injury, is the only player whom the Vikings declared out for the game. Wide receiver Rodney Smith is questionable with a hamstring injury; he had been a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but was limited on Friday.

Linebacker Michael Mauti is probable to play on Sunday after missing last week's game with a foot injury. Fullback Zach Line is also probable with an ankle injury after missing last week's game, as is guard Charlie Johnson, whom Zimmer said injured his ankle in practice on Wednesday. Tackle Mike Harris and cornerback Jabari Price are both probable with shoulder injuries.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings will find out more about their injury situation by the time players return for practice on Wednesday, but on Monday afternoon, coach Mike Zimmer didn't have any reason for great concern.

Zimmer said both cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who left Sunday's game with groin and arm injuries, respectively, are day-to-day. But the coach said on Sunday that he didn't think Rhodes' injury would be a long-term problem, and Floyd said he'd be ready to play against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Zimmer also said that cornerback Josh Robinson, who appeared to injure his leg on a long pass late in the game, is fine.

He added linebacker Michael Mauti and fullback Zach Line, who missed Sunday's game with foot and ankle injuries, would try to practice on Wednesday.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings will officially be without three players for their season opener on Sunday in St. Louis: linebacker Brandon Watts (knee), linebacker Michael Mauti (foot) and fullback Zach Line (ankle).

Defensive end Everson Griffen, who missed his second day of practice with an illness on Friday, said he'll play on Sunday, and that he'll start the game at right end. Tackle Mike Harris, who joined the team after the Vikings claimed him off waivers last Sunday, is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Wide receiver Rodney Smith (neck) and cornerback Jabari Price (shoulder) were full participants on Friday, and both are probable to play.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who was hit in the left calf by a stray bullet in an Aug. 9 nightclub shooting in Minneapolis, returned to practice for the first time since the shooting on Monday, working out with the Minnesota Vikings as they prepare for their season opener on Sunday.

Joseph had said last week that he would be ready for the start of the regular season, and his participation in practice on Monday would suggest he's still on track to play, as would the Vikings' decision to cut nose tackle Fred Evans and start the season with only rookie Shamar Stephen backing up Joseph.

Offensive tackle Phil Loadholt was also back at practice on Monday, nine days after bruising his ankle in a preseason game against Kansas City. Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith, as well as linebackers Anthony Barr and Gerald Hodges, also returned from injuries.

The Vikings were without fullback Zach Line at practice, and linebacker Michael Mauti left early. Tackle Mike Harris, whom the Vikings claimed off waivers on Sunday, was watching practice on Monday.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A few observations from the Minnesota Vikings' practice on Wednesday afternoon:
  • With Chad Greenway sitting out of team drills because of an injury to his right wrist, Michael Mauti got most of the work with the first team in Greenway's spot. Greenway had a brace on his wrist, but said he hoped to be back at practice on Thursday. The linebacker also will be in charge of the Vikings' huddle this season, coach Mike Zimmer confirmed on Wednesday; the job typically falls to a middle linebacker, but since Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole aren't likely to be on the field on passing downs, the Vikings gave the job of relaying defensive calls to Greenway because he figures to be on the field most of the time.
  • The Vikings continued looking at several safeties next to Harrison Smith, giving Robert Blanton, Chris Crocker and Kurt Coleman work with the first team on Wednesday. They'll continue their audition process on Saturday night in Kansas City, with Blanton -- who missed the Vikings' first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury -- receiving a fair share of the work so the Vikings can evaluate him.
  • On a day where the Vikings spent plenty of time with their scout teams on the field, Christian Ponder got much of the work at quarterback, facing the first-team defense for good chunks of the practice. Ponder threw one interception, when Harrison Smith picked off a pass underthrown into double coverage, but made some nice throws the rest of the day. "I think that Christian has improved a lot since we have had him," Zimmer said. "I still like a lot of things that he does, his athletic ability, his intelligence. I keep seeing that he doesn’t have a good arm -- that’s wrong, too. He’s got a good arm. He throws the ball beautifully, he just didn’t make as many plays during the OTAs as some of the other guys did."
  • As the Vikings get closer to special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer's suspension at the beginning of the regular season, interim special-teams coach Joe Marciano has spent his time working with Priefer and assistant special-teams coach Ryan Ficken to mold his system into the Vikings' way of doing things. "His system and Mike's system are very similar," Zimmer said. "He’s obviously in all the meetings and everything in with Mike all the time. He’s trying to learn the same terminology that Mike is using that so when we do go to St. Louis (for the season opener) it’s all the same."
  • Wide receiver Kain Colter left with trainer Eric Sugarman in the middle of practice, and appeared to have an injury to his right hand.

Vikings Monday practice report

August, 18, 2014
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A few observations from the Minnesota Vikings' Monday practice:
  • Safety Robert Blanton was back at practice, but the Vikings were still using Chris Crocker as their first-team safety alongside Harrison Smith. Blanton is listed atop the Vikings' depth chart, but he'll have to earn his way back into the race for a starting spot after missing time with a hamstring injury. Coach Mike Zimmer said Crocker didn't see enough action in Saturday's preseason game for the Vikings to evaluate him properly, but the Vikings seem to want to take a longer look at the 34-year-old. Zimmer said on Monday he's evaluating players like Andrew Sendejo and Kurt Coleman as much for what they do in pass coverage as what they're able to do near the line of scrimmage. That'd explain why Crocker is getting a long look, and why Blanton had put himself in the mix for a starting job before his injury. We'll see if he can reassert himself now that he's back.
  • Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who caught a 51-yard touchdown pass during the Vikings' preseason game on Saturday night, was back at it on Monday, snatching passes away from Crocker and Michael Mauti in tight coverage over the middle. At 6-foot-5, Rudolph is already an inviting target for quarterbacks, and he's shown several times already how much it helped him to drop 15 pounds in the offseason in an effort to be a bigger downfield threat in Norv Turner's offense.
  • In 11-on-11 work on Monday, quarterback Matt Cassel hit 8 of 11 passes, getting one batted down at the line of scrimmage and throwing one away downfield. Teddy Bridgewater went 8-for-10, with his only misses coming to Rodney Smith and Jarius Wright -- who sustained a left ankle injury while trying to catch Bridgewater's sideline pass in tight coverage. And Christian Ponder, who didn't play at all on Saturday night, didn't throw a pass in full-team work during Monday's practice.
  • The Vikings made one roster move on Monday, cutting linebacker Dom DeCicco, who had hip surgery last week, and claiming linebacker Justin Jackson off waivers from Detroit.

Vikings Camp Report: Day 9

August, 4, 2014
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MANKATO, Minn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Minnesota Vikings training camp:
  • The Vikings quickly put safety Chris Crocker to work after signing him on Monday afternoon; the 34-year-old was in team drills right away, mostly working with the second team. Crocker said he's been working out, but will need a little time to re-acclimate himself to running with the extra weight of pads. Still, his familiarity with coach Mike Zimmer's defense meant the Vikings had no qualms about throwing him into their full-team work on Monday.
  • Linebacker Michael Mauti got some first-team work at strongside linebacker on Monday, and has been largely playing outside after working out at middle linebacker last season. Mauti said he's around 240 pounds, playing at a little lighter weight than last year because of all the running linebackers have to do in Zimmer's scheme (and have had to do in practice). He's now nearly two years removed from his last knee surgery, and said he feels great. Anthony Barr looks like the probable starter at strongside linebacker, but Mauti is trying to make a roster bid based on his versatility. "The more you can do, absolutely (it helps)," he said.
  • The Vikings' quarterbacks weren't asked to throw as much in full-team drills as they have been in recent days. Matt Cassel hit 6 of 9 passes in 11-on-11 work, while Teddy Bridgewater went 8-for-10, rebounding from a tough night on Saturday and finishing his day with some first-team snaps. He targeted his final three throws for Greg Jennings, hitting two of them. Christian Ponder worked with the third team, connecting on 4 of 7 passes, including a drop and two spikes in a two-minute drill.
  • In a practice-it-in-case-of-emergency moment, all three quarterbacks also got some work on pooch punts. Bridgewater was the best of the three there, hitting a couple punts with decent hang time.
  • Tight end Chase Ford, who is on the physically unable to perform list with a broken foot, seems to be recovering quickly; he was out of a walking boot and moving around without a noticeable limp on Monday, as he watched practice in athletic shoes. Safety Andrew Sendejo was back from the PUP list and went through his first practice, as well, as Zimmer tried to get a handle on his crowded safety situation. Tackle Antonio Richardson, however, left with a leg injury late in practice after his leg got rolled on a running play.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A look at the highlights from the first day of the Minnesota Vikings' mandatory minicamp on Tuesday:

1. Loaded for Barr: The Vikings got first-round pick Anthony Barr on the field for the first time with their full team on Tuesday, after he graduated from UCLA over the weekend, and head coach Mike Zimmer didn't hesitate to try out some of the different ways he wants to use the linebacker. Barr was at the strong-side linebacker position the Vikings expect him to play, but he also lined up as an edge rusher on some third downs. At 6-foot-4, he's taller than defensive ends Brian Robison and Everson Griffen, and if he can rush from the line of scrimmage, the Vikings can present a number of different looks to confuse opposing offenses, especially when Griffen's versatility enters the equation.

[+] EnlargeMinnesota's Anthony Barr
Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsFirst-round pick Anthony Barr participated on the field on the first day of Vikings' mandatory minicamp.
2. Robinson returns: Cornerback Josh Robinson was back on the field on Tuesday, after missing the Vikings' organized team activities with a muscle pull. He was also back at an outside cornerback position, following last year's failed experiment at slot cornerback. Robinson got plenty of snaps in the Vikings' first-team defense on Tuesday, and could wind up playing in the nickel package once Captain Munnerlyn moves inside.

3. Quarterbacks look sharp: The Vikings ran plenty of play-action and bootleg plays on Tuesday, and all three of their quarterbacks had a successful afternoon practice. Matt Cassel missed just one of the nine throws he attempted in 11-on-11 and was 5-for-5 in 7-on-7 work. Teddy Bridgewater was 15-for-17 in 11-on-11 action and 4-for-5 in 7-on-7, and Christian Ponder hit all four throws he attempted. Ponder again got fewer snaps than Cassel or Bridgewater, but he looked good in what he was asked to do. "Everyone's getting reps with the ones and twos," Ponder said. "I'm not getting as many reps as the other guys, but I'm trying to take full advantage, and we'll see what happens. I don't know how long the evaluation process is going to be. I'm hoping it goes into training camp and preseason games, but we'll see."

4. Jennings impresses: Wide receiver Greg Jennings, who missed the Vikings' open OTA last week because of a charity event, caught four balls on the first day of minicamp, and saved his best for last, reaching out for a one-handed grab over the middle on a throw from Cassel in 7-on-7.

5. Middle linebacker plan emerges? The Vikings used Jasper Brinkley, Chad Greenway and Michael Mauti at middle linebacker on Tuesday, noticeably keeping Audie Cole on the outside after Cole played the middle at the end of last season. Brinkley has gotten more first-team work than anyone else in the middle, so far, but Zimmer cautioned not to read too much into that. "We have to line them up somewhere when we go, but I don't look at this guy is the favorite or that guy is the starter," he said. "(Brinkley)'s lined up with the first team right now, but I don't know, once we get him in practice and games and the things that prepare us for games and for the season, that will determine who lines up there on Sept. 7."

6. Safeties still limited: Jamarca Sanford was able to do a little more work after missing OTAs with a muscle injury, but the Vikings were mostly using Robert Blanton, Mistral Raymond, Antone Exum and Kurt Coleman, with Blanton often pairing with Harrison Smith in 7-on-7 drills. Safety Andrew Sendejo was still limited with a back injury. Tight end Allen Reisner sat out, and running back Joe Banyard was a limited participant. Matt Kalil and Linval Joseph were again limited after knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason, but Zimmer said he expects both to be ready for training camp.

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