MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was excused from practice Thursday, Oct. 10, because of illness. How serious was it?
Head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t saying.
When asked after the workout if he is concerned about Thielen’s illness, Zimmer said, “Only if you kiss him.” Asked again about it, Zimmer said, “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.”
For the second straight practice, the Vikings were without guard Josh Kline (foot) and linebacker Ben Gedeon (concussion). Nose tackle Linval Joseph returned after sitting out Wednesday because of what Zimmer called personal business.
Zimmer didn’t rule out that Kline could play Sunday against Philadelphia at U.S. Bank Stadium, saying, “There’s a chance.” If Kline can’t go, he would be replaced by Dakota Dozier.
Listed as limited in Thursday’s workout were center Garrett Bradbury (shoulder), cornerback Mackensie Alexander (elbow, groin) and linebacker Kentrell Brothers (hamstring, wrist). Alexander and Brothers both sat out last Sunday’s 28-10 win over the New York Giants.
The Vikings strive for balance in the running and the passing games and were almost perfect Sunday, rolling up 279 yards passing and 211 rushing against the Giants.
That marked the first time the Vikings had 200 or more yards passing and rushing in a game since a 41-28 win over Atlanta on Sept. 28, 2014, at TCF Bank Stadium. That was Zimmer’s fourth game as Minnesota’s coach. They had 317 yards passing and 241 on the ground in rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s first NFL start.
“I think there’s going to be opportunities in the run and the pass, but it’s not going to be easy,” offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said of facing the Eagles.
Joseph's big run
In a 23-21 win last October at Philadelphia, Joseph gave the Vikings the lead for good on a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter. It’s a play Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph never will forget. The 329-pound nose tackle chugged down the right sideline for what has been his only NFL touchdown.
“You can never get the image of him (on the sideline) with his sunglasses on and the oxygen out of your mind,” Rudolph said. “But I guess, me too. If I ever had to run 65 yards, I’d probably need oxygen too, and he’s about 100 pounds heavier than I am. So, it was a pretty impressive athletic feat.”
Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh called Zimmer the “Godfather of the Double-A gap blitz.” Zimmer said he heard about the comment but wanted to make a correction.
“I’m not the Godfather; I invented it,’’ he said. “Now everybody does it, so it’s copycats.”
Zimmer is in his 26th NFL season. His first as a defensive coordinator was with Dallas in 2000. He served in that role for 14 seasons with Dallas, Cincinnati and Atlanta before joining the Vikings.
Pro Football Focus lists Minnesota’s C.J. Ham as the third-ranked fullback in the NFL. That was news to him.
“I have not seen that,” Ham said Thursday. “I think Pro Football Focus costs too much.”
After learning where he was ranked by the analytics site after five games, Ham shrugged it off.
“I’m really just going out there and doing my job,” he said. “At the end of the day, when it comes down to rankings and all that stuff, those will be what they are by the end of the season.”