Waived by Vikings, Roc Thomas joins practice squad
EAGAN, Minn. — When running back Roc Thomas was waived last week by the Vikings, he could have bolted to join another team’s practice squad. Instead, he decided to stick around.
The undrafted rookie was on the active roster for the first nine games of the season before being let go when the Vikings claimed running back Abdeer Abdullah on waivers from Detroit. They then signed Thomas to the practice squad.
“There were a lot of teams,’’ Thomas said Friday about other practice-squad offers extended. “But I established kind of a home here, and I’ve learned the playbook pretty well. I know that if I get brought back up to the active squad, I’ll have a role.
“I’m not going to try to learn another (team’s) system when we’re halfway through the season, and then it might not end up working out.’’
Thomas wouldn’t name any other teams that wanted him on a practice squad. A source confirmed there were “many teams” interested in him.
Thomas got into five Minnesota games, carrying eight times for 30 yards, including a run of 23 yards, and catching two passes for 21 yards. He also returned one kickoff for 20 yards, a role now expected to go to Abdullah.
“It is what it is,’’ Thomas said of being waived by the Vikings. “That’s out of my control.’’
Thomas said his role is “way different” now but he’s trying to make the best of it.
“I’m on the practice squad,’’ he said. “I’m not preparing to play in a game. I’m getting those guys ready to play. … But I’m still locked in. I’m still learning the plays.’’Conklin preparing for bigger role
With Vikings tight end David Morgan out with a knee injury Sunday at Chicago, rookie Tyler Conklin says he’s ready for an expanded role.
Morgan, hurt Nov. 4 against Detroit, has played 28.6 percent of the team’s snaps this season backing up Kyle Rudolph. Conklin has played 12 percent.
“I’m really excited about it," Conklin said of playing more. “It’s a great challenge. It’s a huge game and we’re going against a great defense, but I think I’m prepared and I’m excited and ready to do anything they need me to do.’’
Considering Morgan is Minnesota’s best blocking tight end, Conklin will be needed to help fill that void. Conklin, who has just two catches this season for 13 yards, also said he’s ready if the Vikings want him to have a bigger receiving role.
“He has done a good job in both areas, protection and blocking and routes,’’ said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “He’s been a tough guy since he’s been here. (His blocking) has never bothered me.’’
The Vikings might have just two tight ends available Sunday, although fullback C.J. Ham could help out at the spot. If there is a plan to call up tight end Cole Hikutini from the practice squad, he said Friday he wasn’t aware of it.
“I don’t know,’’ Hikutini said. “I’m just playing. When they call my number, I’ll be ready.’’Vikings healthier
A bye week helped the Vikings get healthy.
After missing four starters on Nov. 4 against Detroit, the Vikings likely will be without just one Sunday at Chicago: safety Andrew Sendejo.
Sendejo didn’t practice all week and was listed Friday as out. Also ruled out was backup tight end David Morgan, who injured his right knee against the Lions.
Other starters who sat out the 24-9 win over the Lions were receiver Stefon Diggs (bruised ribs), linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring) and left guard Tom Compton (knee). Diggs was not listed on Friday’s final injury report and will play Sunday. Barr and Compton were listed as questionable, but both look to be in line to return against the Bears.
Barr, who has missed two games with a hamstring injury, sat out practice Wednesday but was able to practice Thursday and Friday on a limited basis. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Barr was “looking pretty good’’ in practice.
Compton, who missed two games with a knee injury, was a full participant Friday after being limited in workouts Wednesday and Thursday.
Also listed as questionable for Sunday was guard Mike Remmers, who was limited in practice throughout the week with a low back injury.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen was limited in practice all week with calf and low back injuries, but wasn’t listed on the final injury report.
The Bears listed tight end Dion Sims (concussion) as out and defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (knee) and wide receiver Javon Wims (knee) as questionable.