Found October 22, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. One of the biggest challenges for the Minnesota Vikings in advance of Thursday night's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is being ready physically for a game on short rest.The short week will test Minnesota's ability to get the soreness out after Sunday's physical win against the Arizona Cardinals. Fewer days of preparation likely has already cost the Vikings tight end John Carlson for Thursday's game, as well. Carlson left Sunday's game due to concussion symptoms and coach Leslie Frazier said the short week would make it difficult for Carlson to return."John Carlson was the only guy that will probably not play in this game," Frazier said. "We'll have to take him through the protocol over the next few days, and in a short week, we don't expect him to probably make it."Many of the Vikings' veterans spoke last week about the necessity of recovering quickly from Sunday's game and spending extra time in cold tubs or receiving treatment to be ready for a second NFL game in the span of five days.Minnesota's players had Monday off and will have one full practice day on Tuesday before Sunday's game."Usually you're still kind of shaking off some the injuries by Thursday," safety Harrison Smith said. "Just spend some extra time in the training room and get ready to play."Running back Adrian Peterson is one of the veteran players that was preparing for the short week. Peterson took two days off last week with a sore ankle, partly to help get himself as close to 100 percent before Sunday's game, knowing he would have less recovery time this week.Frazier said Peterson's ankle was still sore Monday following Sunday's game, but it has improved and Peterson has played the past three games through the pain. Frazier said the team will be cautious with Peterson this week."He's a little sore, but not as sore as he was a week ago Monday," Frazier said. "So that's encouraging. So we'll be smart tomorrow getting him ready to go on Thursday."The Vikings will try to condense as much of the mental preparation into Tuesday's practice, but the physical aspect will be a key in the short week."You have to be smart as a player," Frazier said. "You've got to get your rest where you can and take care of your body. You've got a short recovery time, and you've just got to be smart with what you do with your time away from this building."Blair to be inducted into ring of honor: Former Vikings linebacker Matt Blair will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor during halftime of Thursday's game. Blair, a second-round pick of the team in 1974, will become the 20th member of the Ring of Honor.Blair, a six-time Pro Bowler and one time All-Pro, still ranks second in team history with 1,452 career tackles and only Scott Studwell and Roy Winston played in more games as a linebacker for Minnesota. Blair holds the team record with 20 blocked kicks, and his 23 sacks and 16 interceptions are the most by a Vikings' linebacker.Frazier credited Blair for a speech before the team during training camp this season, where Blair told the team to visualize success and Minnesota is off to a 5-2 start.Blair, speaking with reporters on Monday, became emotional thinking about the honor he will receive on Thursday."It's very humbling to be put in with great players," Blair said. "The (Fran) Tarkentons the (Carl) Ellers, the (Cris) Carters, the (Jim) Marshalls, the (Bud) Grants, those guys are just legendary."Frazier would re-do the end of the first half: The Vikings' perplexing series at the end of the first half against Arizona was again questioned Monday, and Frazier said he would probably handle things differently with hindsight.Minnesota got the ball with 50 seconds remaining in the first half on its 13-yard line. With two timeouts and strong-legged rookie kicker Blair Walsh, the Vikings chose to try and get points.Quarterback Christian Ponder was flushed out of the pocket and had to scramble for two yards on first down. Then the team huddled up, wasting several seconds before Ponder completed a short 6-yard pass to Percy Harvin on a slant. The second play started with 19 seconds and Minnesota took a timeout after the play. With 14 seconds left, facing a third-and-2 from the 21-yardline, Ponder was again flushed out of the pocket and threw an interception allowing Arizona a chance at a 47-yard field goal.Ponder tried to throw the pass out of bounds, but was hit while throwing and the Cardinals had their second interception. Luckily, Arizona kicker Jay Feely missed the field goal and Minnesota entered halftime with a 14-7 lead."Probably looking back at it, it probably wasn't the wisest thing to do," Frazier said. "We probably could have went in at the half and taken that 14-7 lead and say, 'Hey, let's just start the second half.' We could do something different in that situation rather than put him in a situation where he has to try and make a play. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably do something different." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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