Vikings' Harrison Smith plans to return

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who in October was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after he suffered turf toe on his left foot, said he still plans to be back for the Vikings' final three games of the season.

Smith is eligible to start practicing next Wednesday, at which point he'll be able to see whether he's able to return on Dec. 15 against Philadelphia. He has been running on an underwater treadmill -- "It's amazing how out of shape you can get in a few weeks," he said -- and will get a MRI on his foot in the near future. But at this point, Smith sees no reason to think he won't be back to help the Vikings finish the season.

"Even when we come in for training camp, you can be in the best shape you think you can be in and it’s still not football shape," Smith said. "So I think you've just got to play into [it] through practice.’’

In other Vikings injury news:

  • Coach Leslie Frazier said middle linebacker Erin Henderson, who has missed the last two days of practice due to a personal matter, might not make it back in time for Sunday's game. If that happens, Frazier said, second-year linebacker Audie Cole would start in Henderson's spot. Rookie Michael Mauti got eight defensive snaps last Sunday against Seattle, but Frazier said Mauti is dealing with some soreness in his left knee; he tore his left ACL in each of his last two seasons at Penn State, and jarred his knee on the turf last Sunday, Frazier said. "It scared him a little bit," Frazier said.

  • Defensive end Brian Robison was limited in practice on Thursday with a neck injury, and defensive end Jared Allen stopped practicing early because of a back injury. Both players, though, seem likely to play Sunday.

  • Center John Sullivan has still not been cleared to return from a concussion. If he's unable to practice on Friday, Frazier said the Vikings would likely rule him out for Sunday's game, putting Joe Berger in at center.