EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings saw a familiar face in the locker room on Thursday when newly acquired safety Andrew Sendejo was back in a Vikings uniform.
While he didn’t participate in practice, Sendejo warmed up with the team and was in the facility, going through meetings and chatting with teammates, who seemed happy to welcome him back.
“That’s my boy. When he left, I had nothing but good things to say. I always said the Eagles were getting a good player,” safety Anthony Harris said. “He only helps the team. So, having him back — familiar face, familiar with the system — it’s exciting.”
Sendejo spent the past nine weeks with the Philadelphia Eagles, registering 26 tackles, a sack and an interception. His most likely impact for the Vikings will come on special teams, however, as Anthony Harris is expected to remain the starter opposite Harrison Smith.
“Not only is he a great safety but he’s great on special teams,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “He’s a guy who made his career in this league on special teams. So, he’ll give us a big lift on both defense and special teams.”
Sendejo spent many of his early years with the Vikings working primarily on that unit, logging over 50 percent of special teams snaps from 2012-14.
“Like he never left,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “He has a different energy, it’s the energy we need, it’s the energy we want.”
The Philadelphia Eagles claimed Vikings 2019 sixth-round pick Marcus Epps, who was released to make room for Sendejo and a candidate to be signed to the Vikings practice squad had he cleared waivers.
Thielen sits, again
For the second consecutive day, Adam Thielen stood on the sidelines watching his Vikings teammates practice, putting into question his status for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys in Dallas.
Thielen has been hampered by a hamstring injury since he was taken out of the game in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions in Week 7. He was held out of the next game, a 19-9 victory over Washington, before returning last week in Kansas City.
That didn’t last long, seven snaps until the hamstring injury flared up again and caused him to miss the rest of the game.
Fullback C.J. Ham (ankle) and defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo (shoulder), held out of practice on Wednesday, were back on the field at the beginning of practice going through positional drills. Stephen Weatherly, a limited participant on Wednesday, also was practicing.
Both Trae Waynes (ankle), a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, and Linval Joseph (knee), a full participant yesterday, were not present at the start of practice on Thursday.
Newly signed safety Andrew Sendejo went through warmups but was without a helmet and not practicing during the portion of practice open to the media.
The Cowboys may also be without their star wide receiver as Amari Cooper reportedly will not practice on Thursday after getting an MRI on his injured knee on Wednesday. His status for Sunday remains uncertain.
Sunday will mark a matchup of veteran tight ends Rudolph and Jason Witten. Witten is a player Rudolph admires and leaned on for advice throughout the years.
“The biggest thing I get from Jason in talking to him is his work ethic,” Rudolph said. “I kind of ask him what his routine is like in-season. You don’t play as many games in a row, and as many years in a row as he has without having a toughness about you, but it’s also working to make sure your body can withstand it.”
While Rudolph and Witten may exchange words on Sunday, head coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t appear ready to reminisce about his days in Dallas. When asked if he thinks about how Dallas gave him his first job as a coach and a coordinator, Zimmer replied with a swift, “No.”