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Updated: August 21st, 2012 7:54pm
Notebook: Letroy Guion aggravates knee injury, likely out for Friday

Notebook: Letroy Guion aggravates knee injury, likely out for Friday

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings were hoping that Letroy Guion would miss only one game after suffering a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the preseason opener against San Francisco.

However, it now looks as if the nose tackle will be sidelined for at least two games.

Guion, who has been wearing a brace on the knee, had to drop out of individual drills early in Tuesday's practice after he aggravated the injury. Much of the practice was closed to the media, but when Guion came off the field he had changed into shorts and taken off the brace, a clear sign that he had become a spectator.

The expectation now is that Guion will not play on Friday night against San Diego at the Metrodome and it's likely he will be held out of practice on Wednesday.

That is a setback for the Vikings, who plan to have Guion serve as their starting nose tackle this season. Guion, a fifth-round pick out of Florida State in 2008, has previously been used at both the 3-technique and nose tackle.

Veteran Fred Evans started in the Vikings' 36-14 victory last Friday against the Buffalo Bills and will be expected to line up alongside fellow tackle Kevin Williams this Friday.

Shaking off the rust

Cullen Loeffler has proven to be one of the NFL's most reliable long snappers in his time with the Vikings, but he was not at his best against the Bills. Loeffler had at least three snaps that were less than perfect on Blair Walsh field-goal attempts.

Walsh, in fact, missed wide right on a 49-yard attempt after a snap that appeared to be low.

There might be a reason Loeffler is a bit rusty.

He was placed on injured reserve in late November last season after fracturing his lower back while being blocked on punt coverage in a 24-14 loss on Nov. 27 in Atlanta.

Mike Priefer, the Vikings' special teams coordinator, said Tuesday that Loeffler's snap and Chris Kluwe's hold on the Walsh mix were actually fine. But Priefer acknowledged that Loeffler struggled a bit.

"Cullen is such a true pro and it means so much to him," Priefer said. "When he threw one back and it wasn't quite what it needed to be, he pressed a little bit to be honest with you. Like any player, when you start pressing you start thinking and you don't react like you normally do.

"That game is in the past, it's over and done with, and that's what I told him this week. (Monday) we had a good period in here while the guys were outside and we worked for a half hour and he was great. He'll do fine today and be back to normal."

About that miss

Walsh, a sixth-round pick by the Vikings last April, made field-goal attempts from 22, 30, 40, 45 and 47 yards on Friday and is now 7-for-8 in his first two exhibition games.

Priefer said Walsh's miss was just pushed right, something the rookie also did a few times during training camp in Mankato.

"We have to keep working on that and understand that his hips need to be aligned with the target and those little things that we work on during our specialty period," Priefer said. "The great thing about Blair is that after that miss, he came back and made virtually the same kick, just 2 yards shorter and (he) drilled it.

"He didn't miss and I was very excited about that. That is where you kind of figure out mentally if the guy can handle it and he responded very, very well."

Priefer was not as happy with Walsh's kickoffs.

Walsh was brought in to replace veteran Ryan Longwell in large part because he has a much stronger leg. The Bills had five returns and Walsh finished with four touchbacks.

"That was too many miss hits the other day and he knows that," Priefer said. "He will be more consistent. Obviously, he has a big time leg, and I'm excited about him in that regard."

Waiting on Blanton

Safety Robert Blanton, a fifth-round pick in April, has yet to play in the preseason because of a hamstring injury and it remains uncertain if he will be on the field Friday.

"We are trying to determine that," Frazier said. "We are hoping that he can play in this ballgame on Friday night so we can get some tape on him and evaluate him in game situations. When he was out there he did a good job in the offseason program that we had, then the short time that he was in camp.

"But we want to get some game tape just to be able to evaluate him a little better. Hopefully, he will be able to play this Friday night, if not, for sure the Houston game, so we will see. Yesterday, he finished practice and he did well. So we have our fingers crossed hoping that he will play Friday night."

The Vikings will close the preseason on Aug. 30 at Houston.

Quick hits

• The Vikings used Marcus SherelsBryan Walters and rookies Josh Robinson and Jarius Wright on punt returns Friday as they attempt to see who will handle that role this season. Priefer admitted he is most comfortable with Sherels, who averaged 8.4 yards on 33 returns last season, but is not assured of making the 53-man roster at cornerback.

• With the Vikings actually game-planning to face the Chargers on Friday, the first-team on offense and defense is mainly going against the scout team. That means, unlike training camp practices in Mankato, there isn't much work with the first-team offense facing the first-team defense.

• Defensive end Everson Griffen returned to practice Tuesday after sitting out a day because of the stomach flu. Among those sitting out were wide receiver Kamar Jorden (hand), cornerback Chris Cook (concussion), guards Bridger Buche and Geoff Schwartz (sports hernia surgery) and tight end John Carlson (knee). 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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