By Joseph Gunther

Josh Robinson found his way to the trainer’s table before heading inside the Minnesota Vikings’ facility during Thursday’s practice at Winter Park. The cornerback did not return to practice and was listed as a limited participant.

He had been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury since the start of training camp, but it was an ankle issue that forced him off the practice field. He has been very good for the Vikings this season as the third cornerback on the outside. The third-year former third round draft pick has 14 tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions on the season.

His replacement, if he is unable to go, likely would be rookie seventh round draft pick Jabari Price. However, he was limited during Thursday’s practice as well with a hamstring injury. If neither can go, Shaun Prater or former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Marcus Sherels would be the next players on the depth chart.

That was the bad news. The good news is that center John Sullivan passed the NFL’s concussion protocol and returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. He was limited Thursday, but cleared the first hurdle in getting the OK to play on Sunday. Mike Zimmer did not specify if he would or would not play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Veteran Joe Berger filled in for Sullivan during Sunday’s game and likely would do the same if the incumbent starter can’t play.

The Vikings are eagerly awaiting the return of tight end Kyle Rudolph, who has been out since having surgery on a sports hernia a couple days after the team’s Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He has been doing the rehab, but appears close to returning to the practice field.

“Really the next step for me, the next thing you guys will see change, is I’ll back out there on the practice field,” Rudolph said Thursday via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “That’s completely up to the guys in the training room. I’m just going to continue to do what I can. Today was better than yesterday. Yesterday was better than the day before.”

Chase Ford has stepped into a more prominent role in the passing game since Rudolph went out. The second-year tight end had eight catches for 85 yards in the three weeks prior to getting shutout in last Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

On the Buccaneers side, they listed linebacker Brandon Magee (knee) as a non-participant as well as linebacker Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), offensive tackle Anthony Collins (knee), safety Dashon Goldson (ankle), wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib), quarterback Josh McCown (right thumb) and safety Keith Tandy (hamstring) as limited participant’s in Thursday’s practice. They also list cornerback Johnthan Banks (neck) as a full participant.

The Complete injury Report

The Vikings listed Rudolph (abdomen/groin) and safety Antone Exum Jr. (ankle) as non-participants in Thursday’s practice.

The team listed linebacker Gerald Hodges (hamstring), Sullivan (concussion), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle), Price (hamstring) and Robinson (ankle) as limited participants in Thursday’s practice.

They also listed defensive end Corey Wootton, guard Vladimir Ducasse, safety Harrison Smith and Ford (foot) as full participants in Thursday’s practice.

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

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. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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