MANKATO — The Vikings lost both defensive end Jayme Mitchell and linebacker/special teams ace Heath Farwell because of torn anterior cruciate ligaments suffered in Friday’s preseason loss to Seattle. Farwell tore his right ACL in the first quarter. Mitchell, the second-team left end, tore his left ACL.
Coach Brad Childress announced the injuries following this afternoon’s practice. The Vikings did not practice Saturday. It was obvious Farwell’s injury was severe because he had to be helped off the field and was taken on a cart to the locker room. Mitchell, though, was able to get off the field.
While Farwell’s injury is a definite blow to the special teams, the Vikings still have plenty of depth behind him at linebacker. The defensive end position is a different story. Backup right end Brian Robison remains out after having surgery for a varicose vein in his leg last week.
“We’ll bring some [ends] in and work them out,” Childress said. “They are basically street free agents right now and everybody is looking for those guys. Those guys don’t just grow on trees. … We’ll still look at the waiver wire and see if we know somebody or have worked them out in the past or liked them but didn’t draft them or take them as a free agent. There is a lot of different meetings and some of those meetings are already going on and we’ve already got people in the pike that we’re going to try to bring in.”
Chip tried to catch Mitchell on his way out of the locker room but he declined to comment.
The Vikings depth chart at the end spots currently looks like this: left end — Ray Edwards and Leger Douzable. Right end — Jared Allen, Brian Robison, Otis Grigsby and Martail Burnett. Tackle Ellis Wyms also can play the end and could be shifted there in certain situations.
Farwell told reporters, including Chip, that he knew he was in trouble after his knee got rolled up on. “I knew it was a pretty serious injury,” Farwell said. “I’ve never been taken off on a cart in my whole life. I’ve never had knee injuries or any surgeries.”
In addition to Farwell and Mitchell, the Vikings had five players sit out today’s practice because of injuries suffered against Seattle. The list includes safety Michael Boulware (concussion); fullback Naufahu Tahi (bruised sternum); linebacker Heath Farwell (knee); tackle/guard Drew Radovich (left shoulder); guard Mike Jones (unknown); nose tackle Kenderick Allen (right wrist) and right tackle Marcus Johnson (right knee).
Tight end Garrett Mills (ankle) and cornerback Marcus McCauley (knee) both returned to the practice field and McCauley actually did quite a bit of work. Receiver Bernard Berrian did very little work today as Martin Nance got repeated reps with the first team. Safety Madieu Williams (neck) also was held back in several drills and replaced by Eric Frampton. Williams did not play Friday against the Seahawks.
Today’s practice was held in shorts and shells as the Vikings eased back into action after a day off. The team will be back to two-a-days on Monday with the first practice starting at 9 a.m.