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Updated: September 7th, 2011 4:51pm
Notebook: Shiancoe 'on point' with McNabb, who has right wrist problem

Notebook: Shiancoe 'on point' with McNabb, who has right wrist problem

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Back to work after missing the entire preseason with hamstring trouble, Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe doesn't sound concerned about the injury or the time he lost with new quarterback Donovan McNabb.

"I've been talking to (McNabb) the whole time I was hurt," Shiancoe said after fully participating in Wednesday's practice. "Talking, watching film and doing those teeny things like that. We're on point. It's just that now we're doing it live."

Shiancoe first suffered the injury on Aug. 8, then suffered a setback on Aug. 24. He admitted on Wednesday he "wasn't ready at all" the first time he returned to the field but now feels "really, really quick out there."

"Coming back from injuries, a lot of times it's mental, man," Shiancoe added. "So, like during the week, you've got to really go hard to test it out and also gain that confidence. That's what I'm doing, is gaining that confidence out there and I'm pretty happy with the results so far. I'm still icing (the hamstring) and all that kind of stuff."

New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has said many times he has specific packages in mind to utilize the abilities of Shiancoe, who also battled hamstring problems last year and is entering a contract year at age 31.

"For Shiancoe, you don't want to rush him into trying to get into that flow," McNabb said. "I think he has played the game enough where he understands. For me, it's just kind of adjusting to his speed. We had some time together before he got injured in training camp. For me, it's nothing to adjust to a different guy. I think the things we have been able to do with the guys that have been out there; he can just fit right into that and we can continue to move forward."

Coach Leslie Frazier said the team is moving forward with game planning as if Shiancoe is fully healthy -- "Didn't want him out there practicing on Monday or (Wednesday) if he wasn't," Frazier said -- but cautioned coaches need a week to determine whether Shiancoe and McNabb are in sync.

"The end of this week will tell us more," Frazier said. "(Shiancoe)'s missed a ton of time and missed not only practice time, but game time as well. So, it'll be a little bit of a work in progress. He'll be a little bit behind some of the other guys, just because of the lack of time with he and Donovan."

McNabb on injury report

All 53 players were on the field when the Vikings resumed practice on Monday, but there was one surprise on the first injury report of the week when it was issued Wednesday.

McNabb was listed as a full participant with a previously undisclosed right wrist injury.

That McNabb apparently took all the snaps required in practice is a sign the injury isn't significant. But it's something that will be worth monitoring as the Vikings prepare for Sunday's regular-season opener at San Diego.

McNabb, 34, made no reference to the injury in his weekly media conference, and an NFL source said it's nothing to worry about.

Cornerback Asher Allen (foot) was the only player listed as a limited participant in practice. Cornerback Chris Cook (hamstring) was a full participant.

Three Chargers backups didn't practice: receivers Vincent Brown (hamstring) and Patrick Crayton (ankle) and linebacker Jonas Mouton (shoulder).

Tickets available

Approximately 3,000 tickets remain available for the Vikings' home opener on Sept. 18 against Tampa Bay, according to the team's chief marketing officer, Steve LaCroix.

But the team continues to "feel good about where we stand and remain confident that we will sell out -- and have this game locally televised as planned."

If the game isn't sold out 72 hours before kickoff, it can be blacked out in the local television market, although the NFL has extended that deadline many times in recent years when teams are close to moving enough tickets.

There are approximately 7,000 tickets available for the Sept. 25 game against Detroit, LaCroix said. Single-game tickets start at $39.

Starting 'means a lot' to Sanford

Speaking with reporters for the first time since Frazier named him the starting strong safety, Jamarca Sanford said the decision "means a lot. It just shows you hard work pays off. I put a lot of effort in this offseason. I took it serious, worked hard, worked on my weakness and just (came) back in better shape and just ready to go when my number's called."

The player he beat out, Tyrell Johnson, said he feels "pretty good" about his role despite losing the starting job for the second straight preseason. Frazier has indicated Johnson, a former second-round pick, will rotate in at times.

"Got to go out there and handle my responsibility," Johnson said. "It's a job. It's a business. You've got to go out there and do the best at what you're doing."

Happy returns?

As expected, the Vikings will give the first shot on punt returns to cornerback Marcus Sherels, who rebounded from his lost fumble at Seattle on Aug. 20 and beat out Jaymar Johnson for the job.

"Oh yeah, number one rule is ball possession," Sherels said. "So, I'm going to do a lot better job of that."

The Vikings still are debating who to use on kick returns, Frazier said. Top receiver Percy Harvin is the most potent weapon, but the new rule moving up kickoffs to the 35-yard line -- resulting in higher touchback numbers league-wide -- might make the risk outweigh the reward.

"He's still a great kickoff return guy," Frazier said. "We're just looking at the rules and just trying to determine what's going to be best for our team."

If Harvin doesn't get the nod, halfback Lorenzo Booker probably would.

Quick hits

• Frazier smiled at a question about whether the Vikings must heavily blitz Chargers QB Philip Rivers to shut him down. "Well," Frazier said, "without tipping my hand, we've got to find a way to make him uncomfortable."

• WR Greg Camarillo's restructured contract includes a base salary of $900,000 -- down roughly 47% from $1.7 million under his old deal.

• The Vikings adjusted their practice squad, signing DB Domonique Johnson and LB Tyrone McKenzie and releasing FB Matt Asiata and DL Cedric McKinley.

• Frazier wouldn't rule out changes to the 53-man roster before Sunday either. "It's a fluid situation," Frazier said. "Things could happen throughout (the week). We're always trying to better our football team. It'll be that way throughout the year, which I think is good for our team and good for our roster."

• Rookie FS Mistral Raymond has changed his jersey number from 30 to 41.

• Vikings legend Jim Marshall addressed players before practice on behalf of the team's alumni.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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