Wednesday's NFL: Vikings' Bradford unsure about knee

Associated Press
Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford missed last week's game against the Steelers due to a knee injury.

Eden Prarie, Minn. — Late in Case Keenum’s session with reporters on Wednesday, Vikings public relations director Tom West gave his customary notice to reporters the quarterback’s news conference would soon be wrapping up.

“Last couple for Sam,” West said. Keenum replied with a smirk, “Who’s Sam?” Then he added, “It’s just ingrained in his head,” before joking, “It’s alright, Phil — I mean, Tom.”

As the Vikings wait to see whether Sam Bradford will be able to return from a left knee injury to play against the Buccaneers on Sunday, it seems everything is a bit out of sorts this week.

Bradford and Keenum gave twin news conferences in the locker room, and both threw during individual drills in the open portion of Wednesday’s practice, as the Vikings sought to avoid making any pronouncements about Bradford’s health in advance of the Buccaneers game.

Bradford said his left knee feels better than it did last Sunday, when he was unable to play in the team’s 26-9 loss to the Steelers. He plans to test his knee throughout the week after a noncontact injury he sustained in the team’s season-opening win against the Saints limited him in practice last week and kept him out of the Steelers game.

But he might not have a clear answer until the end of the week — or perhaps even game day — about whether he’s able to start.

“I would like to think that (my chances of playing) are good, but I think a lot of it just depends on how my knee responds when we go out there and practice this week,” Bradford said.

Coach Mike Zimmer said Monday Bradford twisted his knee during the Saints game, and Bradford said he realized Tuesday morning the pain was more noticeable than he’d expected. He tore his left ACL in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, though Zimmer said on Sunday Bradford’s latest injury would not require surgery.

“I’ve been through a lot with this knee,” Bradford said.

“I’ve played through quite a few different bumps and bruises with it. I think every time that I’ve done that, you just know. I don’t think there’s a checkmark or a benchmark you’ve got to meet.

“You’ve got to be able to play quarterback.

“You’ve got to be able to do what the position requires you to do. If you’re not able to do those things during practice, it’s hard to be able to do them during a game.”

Personnel dept.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase says he’ll decide later whether to let linebacker Lawrence Timmons rejoin the team.

Timmons was suspended indefinitely after he went AWOL Saturday, the day before the Dolphins’ season-opening win at the Chargers. When asked about violations of team culture, Gase left open the possibility of Timmons returning.

“Every situation’s different, and I would say that you can be forgiven if the right steps are taken,” Gase said.

The Dolphins suspended Timmons on Tuesday, when they also acquired linebacker Stephone Anthony from the Saints for a fifth-round draft pick in 2018. Gase said the team had been working to acquire Anthony even before the issue with Timmons.

Anthony might play Sunday at the New York Jets, Gase said.

... The Titans placed linebacker Aaron Wallace (back) on injured reserve and signed wide receiver Zach Pascal off the practice squad.

... Steelers rookie linebacker T.J. Watt, who left the Vikings game with a groin injury and did not return, was a limited participant in practice. He said a scan of his injury proved the injury is minor and cannot be injured further.

... The Bills reshuffled their defensive depth by signing safety Robert Blanton and tackle Deandre Coleman. The additions come a day after the Bills released safety Trae Elston and linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

Smith re-elected

DeMaurice Smith has been re-elected as executive director of the players’ union in a special committee vote.

Under guidelines passed since his last election as NFL Players Association head in 2015, a 14-player selection committee could bypass a full membership election. That committee is made of up the 11 members of the NFLPA executive committee plus the three longest-serving player representatives,

The 14-0 vote took place Tuesday night.