The Minnesota Vikings are descending on Mankato for their annual Training Camp, which begins tomorrow. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that one player might start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (or PUP) List, and it appears we know who that player is.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, tight end Chase Ford showed up to Mankato today with his foot in a walking boot.
Ford expects he will be back for around the start of the regular season. Ford said he had surgery last week to put a screw in his foot.
Ford called it a stress fracture. His said his foot had been bothering him, so he went to the doctor last week and was told it was broken.
This partially explains why the Vikings signed tight end Mike Higgins yesterday after releasing defensive tackle Spencer Nealy.
To review what the Physically Unable to Perform List means for a player, it means that a player can't practice with the team due to injury. If a player takes part in a practice with the team after being placed on the PUP list, he immediately comes off of it and can't be put back on. If a player ends the pre-season on the PUP list, they can be transferred to the regular season PUP List.
A player on the regular season PUP List must sit out the team's first six games of the regular season, and the team then has a five-week window for the player to start practicing. If a player starts practicing with the team, the team has a 21-day window to either activate them or move them to injured reserve.
If one player on the Vikings' roster benefits from all of this, it's probably undrafted free agent tight end A.C. Leonard. Leonard has a ton of athletic ability, but is very raw and is more of a "move" tight end than Ford is. But, with the way the Vikings roster shakes out at the moment, and the way that Norv Turner likes to use tight ends in his offense, Leonard should have an extended opportunity to impress the team and establish himself as the #2 or #3 tight end behind Kyle Rudolph and (possibly) Rhett Ellison.