Out were Mike Hughes with a neck injury and rookie Cameron Dantzler with a rib injury. Hughes’ injury could be a concern considering he had suffered a neck injury in the 2019 regular-season finale against Chicago and missed Minnesota’s two playoff games.
Dantzler was hurt in the Sept. 13 opener against Green Bay and sat out Sunday’s 28-11 loss at Indianapolis. Taking his place in the starting lineup was rookie Jeff Gladney.
Also sitting out practice were linebacker Troy Dye, who suffered a foot injury against the Colts, and running back Mike Boone, who was lost in the second quarter of that game with a concussion. Tackle Riley Reiff was limited due to an ankle injury.
The Vikings (0-2) next face Tennessee (2-0) on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Titans on Wednesday listed six players as not practicing: wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee), cornerbacks Malcolm Butler (quad) and Chris Jackson (hamstring), tackle Dennis Kelly (illness), linebacker Derick Roberson (illness) and tight end Jonnu Smith (ankle).
With Anthony Barr lost for the season with a shoulder injury, the Vikings are looking for depth at linebacker.
A source said Wednesday that free-agent linebacker Todd Davis will work out with the Vikings on Thursday. A six-year veteran and a Denver starter the past four years, has Davis been in the Twin Cities since Tuesday for coronavirus virus testing. If the workout goes well, he could be signed to the 53-man roster or to the practice squad.
The Vikings signed undrafted rookie linebacker Cale Garrett to the practice squad on Wednesday. Garrett, who played college ball at Missouri, was in Tennessee’s training camp before being cut.
“Cale wasn’t here very long, so I don’t know if he knew our defense well enough to tell the Vikings anything about our offense or calls or whatever,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “Maybe he knew a lot more than he put on.”
Garrett signed with the Titans on May 7 before being waived on Sept. 5.
“He did everything we asked and worked hard,’’ Vrabel said. “I’m sure he will help them however he can.’’
Barr, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, suffered a torn right pectoral muscle in Sunday’s loss at Indianapolis and was placed on injured reserve Monday.
On Tuesday, the Vikings signed linebacker Hardy Nickerson off the practice squad to take his spot on the roster.
The Vikings have lost three holdover linebackers since the start of training camp. Prior to Barr’s injury, Cameron Smith was lost for the season because of a heart condition and Ben Gedeon was placed on the physically unable to perform list.
Zimmer remembers Sayers
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer started off a conference call Wednesday by offering a tribute to hall of fame running back Gale Sayers, who died at the age of 77.
Zimmer, 64, grew up in the Chicago area and closely followed Sayers, who played for the Bears from 1965-71. Zimmer’s father, Bill Zimmer, was a high school football coach in the area, and that earned him an invitation once to Sayers’ home.
“I was sorry to hear about the passing of Gale Sayers,” Zimmer said. “When I was 11, I was fortunate enough to go to his house and play pool with him, my dad and one of my dad’s players. He was a great man, and I’m sure everyone is going to miss him.”
During the visit, Zimmer got an autographed football from Sayers. As a rookie in 1965, Sayers scored a then-NFL-record 22 touchdowns, and he later had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
“I watched him a lot,” Zimmer said. “He was so elusive the way he could run the football, the way he could hit the seams and accelerate through. It just seemed like he was always making big plays.”
Time for Cleveland?
Zimmer didn’t rule out rookie guard Ezra Cleveland seeing some action against Tennessee.
Pat Elflein started the Sept. 13 opener against Green Bay at right guard before suffering a left thumb injury in practice on Sept. 16 and being placed on injured reserve. In Sunday’s loss at Indianapolis, Dru Samia started in Elflein’s place and according to Pro Football Focus allowed five pressures.
“We’ll see,” Zimmer said of Cleveland playing. “Every week, we look at these guys in practice and see how they’re doing and where they’re at.”
Cleveland, a second-round draft pick, was inactive against the Packers and was in for just one special-teams play against the Colts.