Vikings RG Geoff Schwartz returned to practice on Monday after being out since Aug. 7 following sports hernia surgery. Before he was injured, Schwartz was challenging RG Brandon Fusco for the starting job -- and his reps were beginning to increase.
Schwartz had surgery just 20 days ago, and coach Leslie Frazier said at the time that the hernia wasn't as bad as expected. Frazier said Schwartz looked good on his first day back at practice but that it will take him a while to get back into game shape.
“He did pretty good, it was encouraging,” Frazier said. “It looks like we may be able to get some good quality work out of him next week when we start preparing for our season opener. He didn't do any team drills, but he moved around pretty good in the individual drills.”
Frazier said if Schwartz gets a complete week of work with the full team next week they would feel better about having him ready to go for the season opener against Jacksonville.
Blanton's baptism by fire: After missing nearly a month of camp, rookie S Robert Blanton will get his first live action on Thursday in Houston -- and he will see plenty. The Vikings are down to four healthy safeties in camp, so defensive coordinator Alan Williams plans to take a long look at the rookie.
Williams' expectations? “Just that he can get lined up to see if he looks like he belongs in terms of when has a chance to make a play. See how he functions back-pedaling, making a play on the ball. I do recognize it will be his first live action. We just want to see if he looks like he belongs out there.”
Arceneaux trying to make a move: The wide receiver position battle is still ongoing, with no player grabbing the starting role that will be vacated the first three games when WR Jerome Simpson serves his suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. But WR Manny Arceneaux, who is getting fewer opportunities than receivers who are higher on the depth chart, is making the most of them.
In the past two games, Arceneaux has been targeted three times and caught all three passes for 60 yards. Compare that to Devin Aromashodu, who has been targeted 12 times in three games and has three receptions. Arceneaux has looked good in practice, also, and that has not been lost on offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
“Manny does a good job,” said Musgrave. “You can count on Manny every day at practice, and also every game, that he's going to put his best foot forward.”
Arceneaux should get more opportunities in the Thursday's game vs. the Texans, and another strong performance could earn him a roster spot.
Is Jarius (W)right for punt-return job? WR Jarius Wright performed well in the Chargers game -- bluffing a Chargers defender into a 15-yard penalty on a punt and returning another for 24 yards. But special teams coach Mike Priefer isn't ready to hand him the job.
“Let's talk after Thursday,” said Priefer when asked if Wright had the job. “We're not quite there yet. He's improved every week and I am pleased by that [but] I'm not ready to throw Marcus [Sherels] away either. I think Marcus is going to be a good punt returner as well. The competition is a good thing at all these spots. I'm interested in seeing (Wright) on Thursday.”
Injury update: By the end of the Chargers game, the Vikings were down to their final two safeties due to injuries, and things weren't looking any better on Monday.
It isn't much better at cornerback. Chris Carr (back), Marcus Sherels (ankle), Josh Robinson (concussion) were not practicing on Monday. Sherels and Robinson won't play against the Texans. “We will see how Chris Carr is tomorrow, to see if he is able to practice.”
FB Ryan D'Imperio (shoulder) was also out, and has been since before the Chargers game. Frazier said his shoulder is still pretty tight and he is not sure if D'Imperio will play Thursday.
For more Vikings news and notes, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLMIN.