Notebook: 'Strain' adds Visanthe Shiancoe to talented group on sideline
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MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings have gone through most of training camp without their starting quarterback, running back and receivers.
Now their tight end is on the sideline, too.
Visanthe Shiancoe didn't practice Saturday night, sat out again when practice resumed with two sessions on Monday and declined to discuss the nature of his injury with reporters.
Asked if the injury might keep him out of Saturday's preseason opener at St. Louis, Shiancoe smiled and said, "We'll see, man. I just took the day off, that's all. I got some good blood, man."
Vikings coach Brad Childress also was vague about the injury, saying only that it's "a strain" and "he's going to be all right."
Running back Adrian Peterson was on the field again Monday and showed no signs of the hamstring injury that sidelined him most of last week.
But Percy Harvin (death in family) didn't rejoin the team as expected, fellow receiver Sidney Rice (hip) remained a spectator and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was running the starting offense as usual in place of Brett Favre.
Not including their indecisive quarterback, the Vikings have gone through only one camp practice -- the first session on July 30 -- with at least three of their five skill-position starters on the field.
"I'm pretty sure we'll get back on the same page," Shiancoe said. "It doesn't take too long. We've been working together for a long time now. We're professionals. We know how to adjust."
The Vikings opened a special-category team (11-on-11) period with a nickel package including Antoine Winfield, Asher Allen and rookie Chris Cook -- the latest sign the team isn't sold on starting veteran Lito Sheppard at right cornerback.
Allen has seen increased reps there with the starters in recent days, and Cook has been one of the standouts early in camp, though his work so far has come exclusively on the left side. Benny Sapp's return from dehydration problems makes him an option in the nickel as well, but it's highly unlikely he'll get a serious look outside.
"We still are rotating," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "The three of those guys, and Chris may at some point get in the mix. We'll see how things continue to go. But until we play a game and get some snaps under our belt from a game standpoint, no determination will be made based on what we've done thusfar in practice."
Sheppard did have one notable play in special-category on Monday, breaking up a deep ball for receiver Marko Mitchell, and was back with the starters for the next period.
It's not a snap
The results weren't pretty -- especially for Sullivan, who had a series of bad snaps in a team field-goal period. Place-kicker Ryan Longwell barely got multiple kicks airborne, and Sullivan's final snap rolled back to holder Chris Kluwe.
Longwell did convert 4 of 5 attempts.
Ready to go
Shiancoe made clear his feelings about whether the Vikings are ready to move on to the preseason.
"You're damn right, man," he said. "We're tired of beating up on each other, man. It's time to beat up on some other guys now."
Practice took on a slower tempo Monday in large part because of heat concerns. But Frazier indicated players also seem to be hitting the inevitable purple-on-purple camp wall.
"I got that impression today just watching practice and the mood prior to practice, that the guys are to that point where they're tired of hitting on one another," Frazier said. "They're ready to see some opposing uniforms."
Right guard Anthony Herrera sat out the morning practice two days after dropping out with what Childress believed were back spasms. Rookie Chris DeGeare again worked with the starters in Herrera's place.
Sullivan (calf) and fullback Naufahu Tahi (calf) returned to the field in the morning, but neither participated in team drills. Sullivan didn't practice in the afternoon.
Tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser missed the afternoon session for unknown reasons.
• Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said coaches have not yet discussed playing time for the preseason opener. But he indicated Jackson will take the normal starting quarterback's reps -- probably a series, maybe two. "Tarvaris will be with the first group," Bevell said. "So, depending on how long the first group's out there will determine how long he's out there."
• There remains at least a chance MLB E.J. Henderson (leg) will play on Saturday. "We're still trying to determine," Frazier said. "He did more (Monday) than he has done prior. He continues to surprise us with what he's able to take, so we'll just continue to monitor him the rest of this week and then make a determination at the end of the week."
• Childress also said he hasn't made a decision on whether to hold out Peterson in the opener. "He looks fresh-legged," Childress said. "There's someplace he's going to go through some camp legs somewhere, as the volume starts to build. But it's just great to have him back out there."
• Mitchell had perhaps his best day, making a pair of tough sliding catches in 11-on-11.
• CB DeAndre Wright ended the special-category period by intercepting fellow rookie QB Joe Webb on a deep ball for WR Logan Payne. There appeared to be miscommunication about the route. Webb also was part of a botched handoff with RB Ian Johnson.
• Trainers attended to WR Taye Biddle briefly as he appeared to take a hard throw from Jackson off his chest or neck. He returned a few snaps later.
• Final passing stats in 11-on-11: Jackson 3-for-9; Sage Rosenfels 5-for-8; Webb 3-for-5, INT.
• Childress shortened and lightened the afternoon practice in the sweltering heat, cancelling competitive team drills in favor of a helmetless jog-through period. Tuesday's morning practice is slated to be the final full-pads workout in Mankato, featuring short-yardage and goal-line scrimmage periods.