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John Carlson Injury: Vikings Tight End Missing Valuable Reps

John Carlson is taking longer than expected to heal from a sprained MCL suffered early in training camp. The Minnesota Vikings tight end is expected to be healthy enough to play when the regular season begins, but the free agent pickup realizes he's missing valuable reps while sitting on the sidelines.

Carlson said on Thursday that he has a good feel for the Vikings offense just from watching things happen from the sidelines, but realizes that on-field reps are crucial in his preparation.

"Footwork, pad level, hand placement in the run game and keeping the feet driving once you meet contact -- those things, you need reps to get that back," Carlson said. "In the pass game, pass releases, again footwork, running routes, getting proper depths, getting on the same page as the quarterback."

"These are things I've been mentally taking reps at, and I do think that that helps to visualize and go through things in your head. I know that helps. Again, it's not taking the physical reps on the field and not an ideal situation. But this is the situation that I'm in, and I have to make the most of it."

The Vikings have an advantage considering Carlson is expected to complement Kyle Rudolph as a two-headed tight end combination, but the sooner he's ready to go 100 percent, the better.

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Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.