The Vikings kicked off this week's on-field preparations by giving guard Dalton Risner some first-team reps while also raising their expectations for running back Cam Akers to be active and touch the ball at Carolina on Sunday.
Signed last week, Risner played four snaps on special teams while Akers was inactive as the Vikings lost 28-24 on Sunday to the Chargers. Risner's presence in light of right guard Ed Ingram's struggles is potentially the bigger boost for a team that fell to 0-3 for only the seventh time in 63 seasons.
"This week is another huge step for [Risner]," coach Kevin O'Connell said of Wednesday's practice. "He's absorbing things very well. … Whether it's at left or right guard, we'll see kind of a rotation in practice. And I really do mean it when I say that we as a coaching staff collectively are going to decide the best five we can put out there."
Asked about the possibility of rotating guards during the game to get live-action looks at Risner, O'Connell said, "I would not be opposed to that at all."
Primarily a left guard in his first four seasons in Denver, Risner said he's ready to play either side.
"I feel a lot better than a week ago," he said. "I know the playbook a lot better. A lot better. I've been in that thing knee-deep for a week."
As for Akers, O'Connell said, "The plan right now is to try to get him up and active and get him some opportunities in the game. I'm excited to see him."
Murphy, Metellus, Davenport sidelined
Safety Josh Metellus (shoulder), cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (hip) and outside linebacker Marcus Davenport (ankle) missed Wednesday's practice because of injuries. Davenport has played only four snaps in Week 2 all season. Two other defenders — safety Harrison Smith and lineman Harrison Phillips — got veteran rest days.
Center Garrett Bradbury (back), whose only action was seven snaps in the opener, continues to practice on a limited basis. Also limited Wednesday was outside linebacker Pat Jones II (knee).
Meanwhile, in Carolina, rookie quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Young was a full practice participant after missing the Panthers' loss at Seattle on Sunday.
Milestone for Ham
Fullback C.J. Ham is expected to become the fourth undrafted Viking to play in 100 games on Sunday. He'll join Mick Tingelhoff (240), Leo Lewis (140) and former teammate and current Panther Adam Thielen (135).
"Adam was everything to me," Ham said. "Me playing in the same D-II conference in college and the same conference in high school, I looked up to him for advice. Love that guy to death."
What kind of advice?
"Just work," Ham said. "That was it. Never complain. Just work."
* The Bears signed cornerback Joejuan Williams off the Vikings practice squad.
* Linebacker Troy Dye said he has appealed his $6,554 fine for lowering his helmet to make a tackle on punt coverage against the Eagles in Week 2. Dye wasn't flagged for the hit.