Notebook: Zimmer found some clarity at safety, but wants to see more
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Kurt Coleman needed 11 stitches to close the bridge on his nose after his helmet gouged out part of his face in the Minnesota Vikings' second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Coleman, 26, played Saturday at Kansas City and didn't miss any time as he's part of a group vying for the starting strong safety spot next to Harrison Smith.
Coach Mike Zimmer found some answers to his questions on Saturday, though he has two practice weeks and one exhibition left to decide on the job that's been undecided all offseason.
"I have a little bit of clarity now," Zimmer said. "But we're going to look at them again this week. It'll be similar. We had a couple guys get hurt so we didn't get to see some of those guys but there are some things that [Andrew] Sendejo does good and some things obviously we've got to correct with him. [Robert] Blanton, the same thing. [Chris] Crocker didn't play many plays, but he's starting to get his legs underneath him back to where he looked like when I had him."
Coleman, Sendejo, Blanton and Crocker figure to be the main four in the running for starter as Jamarca Sanford (quad) didn't see any snaps on defense vs. the Chiefs due to injury and has been on and off the practice field throughout June workouts and training camp. The Vikings waived Mistral Raymond (leg) on Monday morning; rookie Antone Exum hasn't seen any defensive snaps since the preseason opener.
Through Coleman's eyes, the Vikings kept the play calls on Saturday simple as coaches continue to evaluate the potential starters.
"There were a lot of good situations we were in [on Saturday]," Coleman said. "It was very vanilla, kept it simple. But it was a good game series, good to get out there."
In exhibitions, the Vikings started Coleman in the opener and Crocker in the two games since; however Zimmer's not done weighing his options after Thursday's preseason finale at Tennessee.
"The more you can do to get on evaluation, the better it is," Zimmer said. "We don't just evaluate on the games. Now the games are a big part of it, because we're playing against somebody else and they carry what we're teaching them in practice to the game, but we evaluate all of these guys every single day."
Ford activated off PUP
Tight end Chase Ford (foot) was lifted off the physically unable to perform list on Monday.
Ford, who figured to be Kyle Rudolph's backup, missed all of training camp after reporting to camp on July 24 with a broken left foot.
"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 he knows the plays and being able to execute them and what kind of blocking he does.
"These next 13 days will be important for him."
Ford wouldn't comment on his injury or potential return date when approached in the locker room.
Undrafted free agent Austin Wentworth had his number called when Phil Loadholt (leg) went down with an injury on Saturday at Kansas City. On one of the first plays, he allowed Jaye Howard to poke the ball out of Matt Cassel's hands in the endzone to force a safety.
As the Vikings still sift through their options for a swing tackle this season, Wentworth is aiming to put some better plays on tape with one exhibition to go.
"That's a play to remember," Wentworth said. "I just should've tighter set the guy, shot my hands and kept my head out; but that's something I can't change now. I just need to move forward and not make that mistake again."
Wentworth is used to playing left tackle, though coaches have worked him on both sides as he filled in on the right for Loadholt.
"Keeps you on your toes, that's for sure," Wentworth said. "Got to play both sides, which isn't easy."
The Vikings have partnered with TRIA Orthopaedic Center to provide certified athletic training coverage for all high school football programs within the Minneapolis and St. Paul School Districts this upcoming season.
Along with a grant from the National Football League Foundation and a matching donation from Vikings ownership, both sides will provide a total of $50,000 to "ensure the proper care of 600 football players in 13 Minneapolis and St. Paul high schools," per a release.
"Athletic trainers play an important role in keeping young athletes safe," said Eric Sugarman, the Vikings' head athletic trainer. "The care provided by athletic trainers has a significant impact on student-athlete health, resulting in lower injury rates, fewer recurrent injuries and improved diagnosis and return-to-play decisions for concussion and other injuries."
• Gerald Hodges (ankle) missed Saturday's game and sat out Monday's morning walkthrough as he recovers from an ankle injury he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 16. Hodges said he's waiting for the green light from trainers and is 'feeling fine.'
• Loadholt (leg) sat out of practice and was seen limping back into the locker room.
• Cornerback Jabari Price, receiver Rodney Smith and Sanford also sat out Monday's practice.