One by one, the cart came to haul injured Vikings players off the field during Saturday’s 14-10 preseason loss to the Jaguars. So much so tight end Kyle Rudolph said he turned to some of his coaches and remarked how many “serious” injuries were happening in a game where the result was meaningless.
“I’ve never been a part of a preseason game with that many serious injuries,” Rudolph said. “So you hate to see guys get hurt. Our young guys stepped in and played really well; had a chance at the end of the game.”
Cornerback Mackensie Alexander was the first to go down with an ankle injury that required X-rays. Initials tests showed Alexander did not suffer any broken bones, according to a league source, and he is set for a magnetic resonance imaging exam Sunday. However, coach Mike Zimmer said “some” of the injured are done for the season.
“List was so long,” Zimmer said, “I don’t remember the exact number, so I’ll just wait until we put them on IR.”
Guard Cedrick Lang will undergo surgery on his right leg, according to Zimmer, and is headed for injured reserve. Defensive end Ade Aruna needed crutches to exit the locker room with a brace on his right knee. Receiver Jeff Badet is in the concussion protocol after taking a flagged hit to the head. Center Josh Andrews (ankle) and fullback Johnny Stanton (left leg) were also helped off the field and did not return.
Remmers, Cook could see action Friday
Saturday’s injuries came as 13 Vikings were already held out because of lingering ailments or rehabs.
Defensive end Everson Griffen (leg), running back Dalvin Cook (knee), right guard Mike Remmers (ankle) and right tackle Rashod Hill (ankle) were four starters held out. Backup safety Jayron Kearse didn’t suit up due to “nicks and bruises” he said he’s trying to heal, deferring further comment to Zimmer.
Remmers and Cook could play Friday in the Vikings’ third exhibition against the Seahawks, according to Zimmer. Center Pat Elflein, who has yet to pass a physical and practice, “has a chance to get back here soon” from offseason ankle and shoulder surgeries, Zimmer said. He added that other injuries won’t deter a decision to give Cook in his first game action since ACL surgery.
“We’ve had a plan all along with him and when the plan says he plays, he plays,” Zimmer said. “We’re not going to play games scared.”
With Hill out, the Vikings started tackle Aviante Collins on the right side instead of rookie second-round pick Brian O’Neill. Collins had the better joint practices against the Jaguars, Zimmer said, leading to the decision. So the second-year man Collins played three positions Saturday: starting right tackle, left tackle with the second team and left guard with the third-team offense.
“Last time I played right tackle was OTAs,” Collins said. “They said give it a shot, you’re the guy who can move around, anyway. I went out there and I think it went pretty well.”
The Vikings’ kicker competition added a chapter as Kai Forbath converted a 44-yard field goal, but then missed a 41-yarder off the right post. Rookie Daniel Carlson handled kickoff and extra point duties, making good on his lone PAT.
The late Tony Sparano was honored before kickoff. His wife, Jeanette, son Tony Jr. and daughter Ryan served as honorary captains at the coin toss. A video tribute and moment of silence for Sparano, the Vikings offensive line coach who died July 22, took place before kickoff. Former offensive lineman Joe Berger, coached by Sparano on three NFL teams, sounded the gjallarhorn.