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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Notebook: Vikings place Christian Ballard on ‘left squad’ list

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier announced after Sunday’s practice that defensive tackle Christian Ballard has been placed on the active-left squad list for personal reasons.

Ballard, 23, hasn’t practiced with the team since the Aug. 9 preseason game against the Houston Texans where he recorded a sack and was pulled for what Frazier said was precautionary as Ballard was dealing with a groin pull.

“[Ballard] is one of those guys we were counting on to be a part in our rotation,” Frazier said. “He did a very good job for us a season ago, we’re hoping he would help us this year as well.”

“Hopefully, things work out for him. But he has some personal things he has to take care of.”

Depending on when Ballard rejoins the team, making the final roster above defensive tackles Fred Evans or even rookies like Anthony McCloud seems unlikely as Ballard’s return does not sound soon.

Ballard, in his second season, was as an improved rotational player at the three-technique behind defensive tackle Kevin Williams last season, amassing 21 tackles, 18 quarterback pressures and one sack in less than a third of the total defensive snaps.

Ballard is set to earn just under $690,000 in the third year of his rookie contract that expires in 2014.

“We talked prior to [Ballard’s] leaving. I was well aware, it was not without approval,” Frazier said. “There is no timetable.”

The injuries

After watching Friday’s preseason loss at the Buffalo Bills, the fans weren’t the only ones banged up.

Left tackle Matt Kalil, who was the culprit of the sack on quarterback Christian Ponder on Friday’s opening play, sat out Sunday’s walkthrough with a sore knee. Frazier said he will return on Wednesday with no expected issues.

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd also sat out with a sore left knee — the same one he injured in the preseason loss to the Houston Texans on Aug. 9. The Vikings appear to be taking a by-necessity approach with Floyd, whose 39 snaps were the second-most for any defensive player on Friday and didn’t need to participate in a walkthrough just two days later.

Receiver Jarius Wright ran laps around the practice field and did not participate in Sunday’s walkthrough. Frazier said Wright suffered a concussion during Friday’s game, but hopes to have Wright back later this week.

“We’re not sure [if we’ll hold him out on Sunday,]” Frazier said. “We’ll see how the week goes.”

Fullback Jerome Felton had an appendectomy last week, sat out Friday’s game, but was on the sidelines to watch Sunday’s walkthrough.

“I think so,” Frazier said about Felton being ready for week one. “With what the doctors are telling me it’s a two week recovery, which means we should get some work out of him after the Tennessee ball game or the week before the Tennessee ball game. For sure after that ball game.”
Botched snaps

A bustling crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. on Friday was loud enough for center John Sullivan to miss-time a snap to Ponder as he was in the middle of his cadence.

For a Vikings team that has only one game at the Metrodome in September, Frazier said the three botched snaps — one from Sullivan and two from backup Joe Berger — weren’t lost on him.

“You don’t want to see balls getting snapped over your quarterback’s head,” Frazier said. “Some of those things we have to iron out, we’ll be on the road to open the season. If there is a time for it to happen, this would be the time.”

by Andrew Krammer

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