Injury-ravaged Vikings get WR Stefon Diggs back at practice
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs returned to practice Monday on a limited basis, after being held out of the previous game because of a knee injury.
The Vikings missed Diggs during their 16-13 loss at Detroit last week. The team's leader with 67 receptions and 747 yards has missed two of 11 games this year.
With a daunting matchup against NFL-leading Dallas on Thursday, the Vikings (6-5) ought to be better off with a full week of practice for healing and rest unlike the three days between games they had before playing the Lions.
Cornerback Terence Newman (neck) and punt returner Marcus Sherels (ribs) didn't suit up for that game, either, but Newman also returned to practice Monday on a limited basis. Nickel cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and free safety Harrison Smith have not practiced yet this week. Neither has Sherels, who is one of only two players in the league with two punt returns for touchdowns.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen has been the primary fill-in for Sherels, who has missed three games to injury this season.
''He is, obviously, our best returner, our best option out there,'' special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. ''When he's back there, I think we're a little bit better team.''
Linebacker Eric Kendricks (hip), who has missed one game to injury this year, was listed Monday as a limited participant in practice. Linebacker Chad Greenway, whose wife was overdue with the couple's fourth child, was not present.
Quarterback Sam Bradford (ankle), who hasn't missed a snap since taking over the job for the second game of the season, also appeared on the injury report as a limited participant in practice.
There's no place on the roster more affected by health problems this season than the offensive line, where center Joe Berger (concussion) and right tackle Jeremiah Sirles (hip) had to leave early after getting hurt against the Lions. Berger has yet to be cleared to practice, increasing the likelihood of Nick Easton making his first start. Sirles was listed as a limited participant and said to be ''all right'' according to coach Mike Zimmer.
Eleven players have taken snaps on the offensive line so far this year, with three tackles currently on injured reserve. Mike Harris, who has started at both guard and tackle on the right side of the line in recent seasons but has been sidelined all season because of an unspecified illness, undoubtedly would have seen significant playing time if he were healthy.
''I don't know what is, but somebody's really taken a (expletive) on us this year,'' left guard Alex Boone said.
Zimmer said he believes the rash of injuries that has hit his team could not have been prevented.
''I honestly don't think it's anything to do with the strength and conditioning or any of that stuff,'' Zimmer said. ''After the season, obviously, we're going to sit down and look at everything, look at that part of it. We're going to look at when guys got hurt, where they got hurt, how they got hurt, but at this point, it's just football things. We've obviously tried to put our finger on a lot of that, but we're not getting guys hurt in the weight room. Most every one of them have been on the field or during the games or something like that.''
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL