The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

August 5, 2013

Not much will change before preseason opener

MANKATO — The Minnesota Vikings are in game week, opening the preseason at 7 p.m. Friday against Houston at Metrodome.

But coach Leslie Frazier said that practice won't change much this week, with a full-pad practice each afternoon as the team focuses more on player fundamentals and evaluation than game-planning for the Texans.

"We’re really concentrating on our team and our roster," Frazier said. "This preseason game is important for different reasons; the primary reason it’s important is it gives us a chance to evaluate guys in game situations. But from a win loss stand point, there’s not a lot of credence in it."

Frazier said he saw some good things in Saturday's night practice in front of 10,000 or so fans, but he also saw a few things that need to be fixed.

"A lot of positive things," he said. "I think we are heading in the right direction. There is a lot that we have to get cleaned up, we have a few guys that are banged up right now, but that attitude and the work ethic of our players really gets you encouraged."

The Vikings will practice today and Wednesday before busing to the Twin Cities on Thursday. Following Friday's game, the players have Saturday off before returning to Mankato for two practices Sunday.

Rhodes still learning

Rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes said that he's concerned about missing practices with a groin injury, but he's trying to keep learning about his position and the defensive scheme.

"I'm still getting the mental reps," he said. "It's not full speed, but it's still reps and learning my keys."

Rhodes said he's day to day with the injury and not sure if he'll play Friday.

Safety Mistral Raymond returned to practice after missing a couple of days with a groin strain, and linebacker Desmond Bishop continued to miss time with a groin injury. Cornerback Brandon Burton appeared to injure his ankle late in practice and did not return.

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