Here are some news and notes at the halfway point of the NFL Exhibition Schedule.
Vikings Lose Six Players in Preseason Loss
The Minnesota Vikings were defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, but the Vikings lost a lot more than just one game. Minnesota saw six players leave the game with injury and not return with three of these players being forced to leave the field on a cart. Defensive end Ade Aruna (knee), Cedrick Lang (leg), and fullback Johnny Stanton (leg) appeared to suffer serious injuries. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer announced that Lang would undergo surgery, but he believed that several of the players would be lost for the 2018 season.
While none of these players were projected to be starters for the Vikings, they were all battling for a roster spot on a team that went 13-3 to win the NFC North last season. The Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers in the season opener.
Josh Gordon Returning To Browns
Talented wide receiver Josh Gordon has made his return to the Cleveland Browns. Gordon missed training camp as he was seeking additional treatment and health in his ongoing battle with addiction. Gordon issued a statement thanking the Browns organization and his teammates for their continued support as he was away from the team. Gordon is not yet cleared to practice with the team, but he will be able to attend practices and meetings to prepare for the season opener. Browns head coach Hue Jackson did not give a timetable for his return, but Gordon could be ready to play in week 1. Gordon is a former All-Pro wide receiver and will provide playmaking ability for a Browns team that went 0-16 last season.
Randy Gregory Back in Action
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory appeared in his first NFL game since the season finale of the 2016 season. Gregory was suspended for the entire 2017 season and was reinstated a few days before training camp began this fall. Gregory played in 10 first half snaps in the Cowboys 21-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday. He didn’t record a tackle in the game. The Cowboys selected Gregory in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft after he fell out of the first round due to off the field issues. He has been suspended multiple times in his short career due to repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Dallas Cowboys have not guaranteed a roster spot to Gregory, and he is in competition to make the 53 man roster for opening day.
Texans Lose Two Players to Concussion
The Houston Texans lost two starters to a concussion in their 16-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Starting cornerback Kevin Johnson sustained the injury when he fell hard to the turf while trying to defend a pass in the first half. Johnson remained on the ground for several minutes before eventually walking off the field under his own power. Johnson was hospitalized with the concussion but was stable after the game. Wide receiver Sammie Coates also suffered a concussion in the second half of the game. Coates was ruled out for the remainder of the game but recorded three receptions for 42 yards before suffering the injury. Both players will enter the NFL’s concussion protocol and there is hope that both players will be ready to play in the season opener.
Chiefs Set to Sign Orlando Scandrick
The Kansas City Chiefs are signing Orlando Scandrick according to league sources. The cornerback was released by the Washington Redskins earlier this week after signing a two year deal with them in the offseason. Scandrick lost his starting job in Washington due to a number of young defensive players emerging for the Redskins. The 31-year old Scandrick spent his first 10 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and was a productive defensive player. He appeared in 11 games with the Cowboys last year. Scandrick should jump right into a starting role with the Chiefs, who lost five of their top six cornerbacks from last season. Steven Nelson is the only returning cornerback who saw significant playing time last season, and he was injured in the Chiefs previous preseason game. Scandrick has eight career interceptions and eight forced fumbles in his ten year NFL career.