Page last updated on Tue Sep 27 20:09:15 EDT 2016
Thu, 30 Aug 2012 02:30 AM EDT

While the Minnesota Vikings conducted practices this past month, John Carlson studied from behind the huddle, a white ball cap on his 6-foot-5 frame signaling his nonparticipation in the drills. Basketball lines

As closely as he studied his new team’s playbook and tried to understand his assignments, Carlson’s sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee kept him from full immersion in the offense until returning to the field this week. With the season opener less than 2 weeks away, Carlson has lots of catching up to do.

”I’m kind of feeling my way through things at certain times but I think the more reps I get the more comfortable I will get,” Carlson related, his 1st full-pad workout since he was hurt on July 31. ”I was at each practice. I watched all of the team periods. I went to all the meetings and that stuff, but it’s different to learn an offense on paper or to watch it as opposed to taking the physical reps, communicating with the tackle, seeing and reading coverages, running the correct route, making the proper adjustments. I need to get that very fast, but it’ll come.”

The Vikings (29th in the AP Pro32 rankings) carefully restocked their roster this year, usually using their 10 draft picks and one year prove-it contracts on veterans to fill in the holes.

Carlson was the exception, signed to a 5-year contract worth as much as $25 million, though only about $9 million is warranted. The Litchfield, Minn, local and Notre dame product missed last season with Seattle because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder. So he hasn’t played in a real NFL game since the Seahawks were in the playoffs after the 2010 season.

”Well, injuries happen in football. I’ve kind of had a string of them here, but I’m trying to do my best to put my best foot forward and forget about what’s happened in the past and try to get back to 100 percent and concentrate on what’s ahead,” Carlson said.

”I think he’s more comfortable with that brace now. So I think he is going to be all right,” Coach Leslie Frazier announced. ”We’ve just got to keep stacking days on top of each other, but he was better today.”

With the prevalence of two tight-end sets in their offense, the Vikings signed Carlson to pair with Kyle Rudolph, a fellow former Fighting Irish star. They have the sort of pass-catching and route-running skills to beat linebackers in man-to-man coverage and give QB Christian Ponder some options to throw to, provided of course they can remain healthy.

Carlson’s former Notre dame roommate, Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, has not been anxious about his buddy’s ability to bounce back.

”He’s always in shape, which is a very big part of the battle when you miss that much time,” Sullivan announced, adding: ”He’s a really experienced guy. He is an extraordinarily smart guy. He has been in this league for a long period of time so I am sure that’ll be easy for him to get into playing shape mentally and physically.”

Sponsored Links

Download Printable Schedules
Now you can download and print schedules for each sport so you can plan ahead and track your results.
FOOTBALL: 8/7/2016 - 10/31/2016
BASEBALL 8/10/2016 - 10/2/2016
RK Team
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
Seattle Mariners
Chicago Cubs
Kansas City Royals
MLBChicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates (Props)4:05 PM PST
MLBBoston Red Sox vs New York Yankees (Props)4:05 PM PST
MLBBaltimore Orioles vs Toronto Blue Jays (Props)4:05 PM PST
MLBCleveland Indians vs Detroit Tigers4:10 PM PST
MLBPhiladelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves4:10 PM PST
MLBNew York Mets vs Miami Marlins (Props)4:10 PM PST
MLBMinnesota Twins vs Kansas City Royals4:15 PM PST
MLBMilwaukee Brewers vs Texas Rangers (Props)5:05 PM PST
MLBSeattle Mariners vs Houston Astros (Props)5:10 PM PST
MLBCincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals5:15 PM PST
MLBOakland Athletics vs Los Angeles Angels (Props)7:05 PM PST
MLBLos Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres (Props)7:10 PM PST
MLBColorado Rockies vs San Francisco Giants (Props)7:15 PM PST
ATP - Chengdu, ChinaKRAVCHUK, K vs. WU, D9:00 PM PST
MLBSeattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros11:10 AM PST
MLBArizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals4:05 PM PST
MLBChicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates4:05 PM PST
MLBBoston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees4:05 PM PST
MLBBaltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays4:05 PM PST
MLBNew York Mets vs. Miami Marlins4:10 PM PST
MLBPhiladelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves4:10 PM PST
MLBCleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers4:10 PM PST
MLBMinnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals4:15 PM PST
MLBMilwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers5:05 PM PST
MLBTampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox5:10 PM PST
MLBCincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals5:15 PM PST
MLBOakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels7:05 PM PST
MLBLos Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres7:10 PM PST
MLBColorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants7:15 PM PST
College FootballConnecticut vs Houston5:00 PM PST
NFLMiami Dolphins vs Cincinnati Bengals5:25 PM PST
College FootballKansas vs Texas Tech5:30 PM PST
College FootballStanford vs Washington6:00 PM PST
College FootballToledo vs BYU7:15 PM PST
NFLIndianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars06:30 AM PST
NFLBuffalo Bills vs New England Patriots10:00 AM PST
NFLCleveland Browns vs Washington Redskins10:00 AM PST
NFLDetroit Lions vs Chicago Bears10:00 AM PST
NFLTennessee Titans vs Houston Texans10:00 AM PST
NFLCarolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons10:00 AM PST
NFLOakland Raiders vs Baltimore Ravens10:00 AM PST
NFLSeattle Seahawks vs New York Jets10:00 AM PST
NFLDenver Broncos vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:05 PM PST
NFLNew Orleans Saints vs San Diego Chargers1:25 PM PST
NFLDallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers1:25 PM PST
NFLLos Angeles Rams vs Arizona Cardinals1:25 PM PST
NFLKansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburgh Steelers5:30 PM PST
NFLNew York Giants vs Minnesota Vikings5:30 PM PST