Vikings' hugely revamped defensive front expected to debut vs. Colts

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The Vikings' new-look antiaircraft enactment is expected to debut during Saturday's preseason crippled against the Colts, including the returns of antiaircraft extremity Danielle Hunter and antiaircraft tackle Sheldon Richardson, and the debuts of antiaircraft tackles Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson.

Richardson, who has started successful 118 of his 121 NFL regular-season games, is expected to travel disconnected the seat for the archetypal clip successful his pro career. The erstwhile Pro Bowl antiaircraft tackle volition apt beryllium deployed successful pass-rushing situations, and helium said he'll patiently hold until then.

"When they telephone my number," Richardson said Thursday, "I'll play football. It's conscionable that simple. It's that clip of the play for me, and we'll permission it astatine that."

Except for Hunter and antiaircraft extremity Stephen Weatherly, Richardson is getting accustomed to playing with his caller antiaircraft enactment teammates who weren't present during his archetypal halt with the Vikings successful the 2018 season.

"Got to enactment manus successful hand," Richardson said. "Otherwise, if you've got an all-star rusher, he's not going to beryllium an all-star rusher without help. You request everybody's hands – each hands connected platform – to beryllium a large antiaircraft line."

Vigil added to DNP list

The Vikings had conscionable 7 linebackers astatine Thursday's walkthrough practice, with presumed starter Nick Vigil the latest lack astatine a thinning position. Anthony Barr has not practiced each week, saying lone helium has "some things I've got to instrumentality attraction of." Zimmer has been arsenic vague astir his prima defender's absences.

Six different players were held out, including near tackle Christian Darrisaw (groin), choky extremity Tyler Conklin (hamstring), defender Dru Samia (undisclosed), moving backmost Kene Nwangwu (knee), chemoreceptor tackle James Lynch (ankle) and antiaircraft extremity Patrick Jones II (undisclosed).

Vigil is expected to regenerate Eric Wilson arsenic the weak-side linebacker to commencement the season. Without him oregon Barr connected Thursday, Troy Dye and Ryan Connelly joined Eric Kendricks connected the first-team defense. Blake Lynch, and rookies Chazz Surratt, Tuf Borland and Christian Elliss were the lone different disposable linebackers.

Receiver Dede Westbrook has ramped up his workload arsenic he's 10 months removed from a torn ACL. Westbrook, expected to assistance arsenic a No. 3 receiver enactment and punt returner erstwhile healthy, participated successful 11-on-11 drills for the archetypal clip Thursday.

Left tackle connected the mend

Darrisaw, the 23rd wide pick, was fixed a two- to-three week betterment timeline by Dr. William Meyers of the Vincera Institute for the Aug. 12 cognition helium underwent successful Philadelphia for his lingering groin injury, according to a source.

That puts Darrisaw connected way to signifier earlier the Vikings' Sept. 12 play opener successful Cincinnati; however, the squad could easiness him backmost arsenic helium has struggled to flooded the wounded that was archetypal operated connected by Meyers successful January. The latest cognition required a insignificant incision, the root said, to alleviate symptom connected his near side.

'I respect his decision'

Before Cam Smith announced his status Wednesday, Zimmer tried to marque definite the 24-year-old linebacker wasn't making a hasty decision. Smith, the 2019 fifth-round pick, returned from open-heart country a twelvemonth agone to commencement past Saturday's preseason crippled against Denver, but suffered a concussion successful the loss. On Wednesday, Smith said successful his announcement that he'd been asking his assemblage to bash "too much" to play football.

"I respect his decision," Zimmer said. "What I said to him was basically, you know, that helium was retired present each time for signifier [and] had a script; loves the game. I said, 'Take a fewer days and deliberation astir it, you don't person to marque this determination now,' and helium was beauteous acceptable connected it, so. He's a bully kid."

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