Smith's status still up in the air

MINNEAPOLIS -- Vikings free safety Harrison Smith said Wednesday his sprained left knee was feeling better but reserved judgment about his playing status for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks at TCF Bank Stadium."I just feel better, more...

Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith reports improvement in his injured left knee, but remains questionable to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. USA Today Sports

MINNEAPOLIS - Vikings free safety Harrison Smith said Wednesday his sprained left knee was feeling better but reserved judgment about his playing status for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks at TCF Bank Stadium.
“I just feel better, more athletic,” he said following the week’s first practice. “I’ve just got to give it a chance to calm down, get back to normal. It’s definitely going in the right direction.”
Smith hopes to know definitively after Friday’s final workout. He was limited in practice last week and ruled out Saturday for Minnesota’s game the following day in Atlanta, a 20-10 victory over the Falcons.
“It sucks, but I knew after practicing I wouldn’t be the best option to play,” he said. “It sucks not being out there with your guys contributing, but guys stepped up and we got the win.”
Meanwhile, starting strong safety Andrew Sendejo did not practice Wednesday. He was sidelined with a knee injury during the second quarter in Atlanta.
Antone Exum started for Smith, and Robert Blanton relieved Sendejo. That depleted the Vikings of active safeties.
To bolster their depth, the Vikings signed John Lowdermilk, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, to the practice squad on Tuesday. They also have Anthony Harris on the practice squad.
Smith was injured in the first quarter of Minnesota’s Nov. 23 home loss to Green Bay when teammate Terence Newman rolled up his left knee while chasing a play to the sideline. Smith revealed he suffered “a bit of a sprain.”
Coach Mike Zimmer playfully deflected a reporter’s question Wednesday about the chances that Smith or Sendejo would miss Sunday’s game against Seattle.
“There’s a chance if I lose 100 pounds, I could be a jockey,” Zimmer said. “How do I know? I wouldn’t know if guys are going to play yet or not.
“I was waiting for that question, that’s why I had that answer all ready. Pretty proud of myself.”

Greenway, Loadholt up for awards
Awards season has started in the NFL, and the Vikings have nominated a pair of veterans for the league’s most prestigious off-field honors.
For the third time in five years, teammates nominated linebacker Chad Greenway for the Walter Payton Man of the Year for “excellence off the field,” while right tackle Phil Loadholt was Minnesota’s choice for the Ed Block Courage Award.
Loadholt, a 2009 second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma, started all 89 of his games before tearing his Achilles during the preseason and landing on injured reserve.
Ed Block Courage Awards annually recognizes one player per team who “exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage” and their “ability to overcome great adversity, whether it be personal or professional.”
Injury watch
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph did not practice because of a foot injury, according to the week’s initial injury report. Linebacker Anthony Barr (broken hand/groin) was limited. Blanton (ankle) and cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle) were full participants.

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