Mistral Raymond Nears Return For The Minnesota Vikings
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By Joseph Gunther
Mistral Raymond hasn’t played for the Minnesota Vikings since injuring his ankle in the win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 at Mall of America Field.
The general timetable for his injury, a dislocated ankle and bone bruise, is 3-5 weeks. He returned to practice a couple weeks ago and appears ready to play in a game. However, head coach Leslie Frazier is non-committal toward his status for Sunday’s game at the Seattle Seahawks.
“He’s missed a bunch of time,” Frazier said. “So, we’ve got to see him go through some things with his teammates before we put him out there, for sure.”
The second-year safety beat out Jamarca Sanford to start at strong safety alongside rookie free safety Harrison Smith.
Sanford has played well in Raymond’s place and may remain in the starting lineup even when Raymond returns to 100 percent.
“That’s absolutely not on my mind right now,” Raymond said. “I’m just getting back in the groove of things, getting the conditioning and getting back in practice. I’m available, but how much they want to use me, to what extent, what role they’re going to have me in, that’s totally up to the coaching staff.”
Sidney Rice will play against his former team for the first time. The veteran receiver, in his second season with the Seahawks, is leading the team with 28 receptions. He also has 367 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
He had a breakout season for the Vikings in 2009, the only season he played all 16 games, with 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. But totaled just six games in 2010 (his last in Minnesota) and nine in 2011 (his first in Seattle).
He is finally healthy after signing a highly lucrative five-year contract with Seattle. He is the big receiver that would provide the type of vertical threat the Vikings need.
“They made a strong effort to keep me there,” Rice said. “I talked to coach Frazier a few times throughout the process and (wide receivers) coach (George) Stewart as well. We just couldn’t come to the terms and I decided to choose Seattle. I had an offensive coordinator I had been with for the previous four years. Knew the playbook, and that was one of the big reasons.”
Wright nearing debut?
Jarius Wright has yet to make his NFL debut. The rookie fourth round draft pick has been inactive for each of the first eight games this season. He has been the sixth receiver on the roster this season behind Stephen Burton and Devin Aromashodu.
He got extra work on route-running after practice with wide receivers coach Ryan Ficken. It is still unknown when he will get his first game action, but he is doing the right things.
“I like the things that Jarius is doing,” Frazier said. “With some of the things we did (Monday) in practice, he got a lot of reps. He’s kept his head in it as far as what we’re doing on offense. He’s working hard on special teams. He’s still improving as a punt returner. I think he’s about where we need him to be. We feel like, when the time comes for him to step in, he’ll be able to do a good job for us.”
Roster moves coming
The Vikings know it will not have cornerback Chris Cook for an extended period time. The Vikings put the third-year cornerback on the injured reserve list with the distinction that he can be removed following his broken arm in last Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers.
With one roster spot now open on the roster, the Vikings reportedly worked several players earlier this week, including offensive and defensive linemen and defensive backs.
Practice squad shuffling
The weekly practice squad shuffling between offensive lineman Tyler Holmes and defensive lineman Ernest Owusu continued this week. Monday was the fifth consecutive week that one of them was signed while the other was waived.
“Sometimes it’s based on where we are injury-wise or different things we’re looking at on our roster so there a few different factors,” Frazier said.
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.