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Updated: July 31st, 2012 5:40pm
Sprained MCL will sideline Vikings tight end John Carlson for weeks

Sprained MCL will sideline Vikings tight end John Carlson for weeks

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson is expected to miss at least two weeks and perhaps as long as a month after spraining a knee in Tuesday's afternoon practice.

The initial diagnosis was a sprained medial collateral ligament, coach Leslie Frazier said shortly after practice ended. On Tuesday night, an NFL source said an MRI confirmed Carlson's injury is a sprained MCL and the ligament isn't torn.

With an MCL sprain, "you don't have to have any surgery," Frazier said. "It heals by itself. So, it's a little bit more of a pain tolerance thing, depending on how he feels."

Even a two-week absence from practice would cut into Carlson's action in the preseason, which begins on Aug. 10 at San Francisco. With no setbacks, though, there's no reason to believe he won't be back in time for the Sept. 9 opener against Jacksonville.

Carlson, 28, signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Vikings in March and is expected to play a major role in Bill Musgrave's multiple tight end offense alongside Kyle Rudolph. He sat out last season in Seattle with a shoulder injury.

The other tight ends on the Vikings roster are Mickey Shuler, Allen Reisner and Rhett Ellison, the rookie fourth-round draft pick from Southern California.

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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