Scott Kooistra in stable condition, on IR after serious neck injury
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Scott Kooistra looked on Saturday night like he could be the Minnesota Vikings' right guard.
Two days later, his season is over and his career perhaps in jeopardy.
Kooistra suffered a "pretty serious injury" to his neck in the Vikings' preseason game against Seattle and has been placed on injured reserve, coach Leslie Frazier said after Monday's practice.
His agent, Joe Linta, said in an email on Monday evening that Kooistra is in stable condition with movement in all of his appendages. It is believed Kooistra suffered an injury to the C-2 vertebra near the top of his spinal cord, Linta said, but he is awaiting an MRI.
"It was a play where he was pulling and just really got his neck jammed," Frazier said of Kooistra, a 30-year-old Madison native who spent eight seasons as a backup in Cincinnati and Baltimore before signing a one-year deal with the Vikings last month.
"Came to the sideline, was in pain, really couldn't move left or right, and in the process of evaluation postgame, they just told us it was a very significant neck injury, we're going to probably lose him for quite a while, and he's still in Seattle, going through the evaluation process."
Injuries to the cervical vertibrae can result in paralysis, loss of diaphragm function and other permanent conditions. But Frazier said Kooistra was walking after the injury, and the early reports on his condition seem positive.
In fact, the play that meets Frazier's description came on second-and-1 from the Seahawks' 15-yard line in the second quarter. Kooistra pulled through the left side and was met by hard-charging Seattle linebacker Aaron Curry, who appeared to stick his helmet into Kooistra's chest. Yet Kooistra finished the final three snaps of the series before departing with the rest of the Vikings' first-string offensive line.
From a football perspective, the injury is a blow for the Vikings and Kooistra, whose performance before the injury on Saturday had put him in the mix for the starting job while Anthony Herrera continues to recover from knee reconstruction.
"No doubt," Frazier said. "He was a guy who looked like he might be able to help us on the offensive line. So, yeah, tough loss."
Herrera practiced on Monday and will be evaluated throughout the week to see if he's ready to play on Saturday against Dallas. If he's not, Ryan Cook "more than likely" would get the start over Chris DeGeare, Frazier said. DeGeare remained at right tackle with the second string on Monday.
The Vikings replaced Kooistra on the 90-man roster with defensive end Stylez G. White, a former Gopher who had 24 sacks over the past four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Frazier said the move was made "just to be able to give us some depth and get a chance to take a look at (White) in training camp and just see if he can help us in any way."