Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—Two years ago Wednesday, the Vikings suffered a shocking 10-9 home playoff loss to Seattle. It was a defeat some players prefer to forget, but some simply can't — or won't. For the first time since Blair Walsh missed badly to the left on a 27-yard field-goal attempt in the waning seconds on a minus 6-degree day at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings are back in the playoffs. They face New Orleans in a divisional game at 3:40 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Former Vikings offensive tackle Tim Irwin is 6 feet 7, 300 pounds, so it's a good fit when he sometimes dresses as Santa Claus during the Christmas season. Irwin, though, doesn't need a Santa suit, and it doesn't even need to be December for him to provide gifts to youth in Knoxville. Irwin, who played right tackle for the Vikings from 1981-93 and was named one of the "50 Greatest Vikings" during the team's 50th season in 2010, has been a Knox County Juvenile Court judge since 2005.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—Dalvin Cook was in high school in 2012, but he knows all about how well Adrian Peterson came back from a severe knee injury that season. Now he's hoping to provide another comeback story by a Vikings running back. Cook suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Oct. 1, knocking him out for the rest of the season. The rookie spoke to the media Thursday for the first time since his injury and touched upon Peterson, who suffered a torn ACL in December 2011 and the next season rushed for 2,097 yards and won the NFL's MVP Award.
MINNEAPOLIS—On Sunday, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will put on a uniform and trot out for a game for the first time in 15 months. He can't wait. "Coming out of that locker room and getting that rush and that adrenaline going through my blood and my body, it's a great feeling," Bridgewater said of facing the Washington Redskins at FedExField in Landover, Md.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—If Everson Griffen can get to Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, he'll reach a career milestone. The Vikings defensive end has had at least one sack in all five games this season, tying the longest stretch of his career. The eight-year veteran will try to make it six straight against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS-- After a month of catching passes from Vikings quarterbacks, Michael Floyd will be looking for somebody in the Twin Cities to throw him the ball. The wide receiver will miss the first four games of the regular season because of an NFL suspension following his guilty plea in February to extreme DUI. He will be allowed to attend meetings and use the weight room at Winter Park but can't have any workouts with Minnesota players.
SEATTLE — It will be hard to keep Dalvin Cook out of the starting lineup in Week 1. The Vikings rookie running back carried seven times for 40 yards in Friday night's 20-13 preseason loss to Seattle at CenturyLink Field. He is seeking to replace the departed Adrian Peterson, who will arrive with the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 11 at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first regular-season game. "I'm going to keep enjoying the process and I'll leave it up to the coaches to make that decision,'' Cook said of the starting job.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—The Vikings opened the preseason with one starter out on the offensive line. Now, they could be down two. Left guard Alex Boone missed a third consecutive practice Wednesday in preparation for Friday's second exhibition at Seattle. Boone had his left knee wrapped and declined comment. Left tackle Riley Reiff, who missed last Thursday's 17-10 win over Buffalo in the opener, did some work in practice. But Rashod Hill mostly managed the spot with the first team in team drills, and Reiff eventually went to a side field.
MANKATO, Minn.—Sources said Saturday, July 29, the Vikings were close to finalizing a contract extension for cornerback Xavier Rhodes. One source anticipates the extension to be in the range of $70 million over five years. That would put Rhodes under contract through 2022. Rhodes is under contract for $8.026 million for 2017.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—Marcus Sherels is entrenched as the punt returner, and Kevin McDermott as the long snapper. After that, the Vikings will enter training camp next month with tight battles at the key special teams spots. There will be stiff competition at kicker between incumbent Kai Forbath and Marshall Koehn, and at punter between newcomers Ryan Quigley and Taylor Symmank. Several players are fighting to be the Vikings' kickoff returner.