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Updated: August 20th, 2014 12:59pm
Practice notes: Zimmer waiting to settle on starting middle linebacker

Practice notes: Zimmer waiting to settle on starting middle linebacker

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - As the Vikings sort through their options for undecided starting spots, Saturday's preseason game figures to be a good exhibition. Head coach Mike Zimmer has said he has a date in mind for when he'd like to name a starting quarterback, but he said Tuesday that's not the case at middle linebacker or safety.

"I'd like to do it as soon as possible but I haven't made the decision yet. So it's not really a date like with the quarterback," Zimmer said.

Two starting linebackers are set -- Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway -- and those two also have stayed on the field in nickel packages. But that middle linebacker is still up in the air between Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole.

"Jasper seems to be a little bit more communicative and Audie seems to have a little more range. As far as the running game they're very close and the passing game they're similar," Zimmer said.

But the decision won't be made in a vacuum. Zimmer said he tries to look at the big picture and how that position will impact players at other spots in his defense. They rotated with the first team in the second preseason game.

"You have to look at all the different things: how it affects the rest of the guys on the team; you have to look at their blitz ability; their communication on different formations that you get. There's so many variables with that position that goes into it that you just kind of overall look at it," Zimmer said.

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--Adrian Peterson is not at practice for "personal reasons," Zimmer said.

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--Chad Greenway has had an MRI and an X-ray on his injured wrist and Mike Zimmer said he'll back off the linebacker at practice Wednesday.

"He's got a little wrist [injury]. It's not a big deal," Zimmer said. "I just don't want to irritate it more."

Greenway has had the designated helmet with a headset to communicate with coaches. Often that's the middle linebacker, but Zimmer said Greenway will wear that during the regular season. Part of the reason is that Greenway likely will stay on the field in nickel packages, and he's also the veteran leader of the linebacker group.

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--Jabari Price (undisclosed injury) won't practice, Zimmer said. Gerald Hodges (knee), Brandon Watts ("lower leg") and Linval Joseph">Linval Joseph (calf) also won't practice.

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--Zimmer has said that he doesn't view the third preseason game as the dress rehearsal like many coaches do. He said Wednesday that he'll continue to play his starters "until we feel good about it."

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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