Min­nesota Vik­ings

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NFC NORTH - Con­tribut­ing: Dave Bir­kett, De­troit Free Press

Coach Mike Zim­mer told Fox Sports dur­ing the week­end that the Vik­ings aren’t rul­ing out QB Teddy Bridge­wa­ter re­turn­ing in 2017.

“There’s a pos­si­bil­ity he could get back this year,” Zim­mer said. Gen­eral man­ager Rick Spiel

man re­cently told Pro Foot­ball Weekly that Bridge­wa­ter’s sit­u­a­tion — he re­mains on the phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list with a knee in­jury, and if he’s there af­ter Week 6, his con­tract could toll and give Min­nesota an­other year of con­trol — has forced him to plan proac­tively with huge quar­ter­back de­ci­sions loom­ing as soon as next off­sea­son.

“We’re plan­ning ahead for the 2018 ros­ter, and even 2019. Not only at the quar­ter­back, but the whole ros­ter,” Spiel­man said.

The ag­gres­sive plan­ning yielded con­tract ex­ten­sions for three core de­fend­ers — DL Lin­val

Joseph and Ever­son Grif­fen and CB Xavier Rhodes — but it sounds like Min­nesota will wait to see how its quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion with starter Sam Brad­ford and Bridge­wa­ter plays out.

Rookie watch: Min­nesota ap­pears close to set­tling on thir­drounder Pat Elflein as the start­ing cen­ter. “I guess the thing I like the most about him is he’s able to fin­ish blocks,” Zim­mer said. … Fourth-round DT Jaleel John

son is en­joy­ing a po­si­tion switch. “He’s got­ten a lot more reps at the three tech­nique the last cou­ple of weeks … and he re­ally has played well in the two pre­vi­ous pre­sea­son games,” de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor

Ge­orge Ed­wards said of John­son, a fre­quent be­hind-the-line tack­ler this pre­sea­son.

Note­wor­thy: RB Latavius Mur­ray has im­pressed coaches with his block­ing and catch­ing abil­ity since re­turn­ing to prac­tice af­ter off­sea­son an­kle surgery. … Min­nesota has re­ceived an ex­tended look at sec­ond-year S Jay­ron Kearse with starter

An­drew Sen­dejo out with an undis­closed in­jury. “He’s done an ex­cel­lent job in the box,” Ed­wards said. The chal­lenge for the safety re­mains op­er­at­ing in space.

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