EAGAN, Minn. – Injuries have already claimed one member of the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line with starting left guard Nick Easton heading to injured reserve with a bulging disk in his neck.
ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news Thursday morning that Easton had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck and is out for the season.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer confirmed Easton's neck issue and said the team was going to place the third-year player on injured reserve, but Zimmer didn't offer any more details on Easton's injury.
"Nothing really happened," Zimmer said. "He's got a bulging disc. I'm not going to talk about it."
Zimmer has declined to talk about injuries during training camp.
Easton has been out of practice since last week and reportedly was getting a second opinion on a neck/back injury.
Easton started 12 games last season before a leg injury ended his season. He’s started 17 of 23 games since Minnesota acquired the Harvard lineman in 2015 from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for linebacker Gerald Hodges.
“He’s a tough guy that does a great job of finding a way to get his job done,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of Easton on Wednesday. “That’s the best way to say it…He’s very athletic. He doesn’t give them the same thing one. He’ll cut them, stay up high and then he might grab them once in a while. That’s how he plays.”
Injuries along the offensive line have plagued Minnesota for several seasons and have hit again during training camp. Second-year center Pat Elflein started training camp on the physically unable to perform list after offseason shoulder and ankle surgeries. Planned starting right guard Mike Remmers has also missed recent practices with an injury.
Tom Compton, a six-year veteran, signed with the Vikings in March and has been practicing with the first-team offense throughout training camp as Easton filled in at center for Elflein. Compton was listed on the team’s initial depth chart as the backup to Easton at left guard.
Compton has started 16 of his 71 career NFL games. He started 11 of 44 games in Washington as a teammate of new Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins. Compton started five of 11 games with Chicago last season.
"We have kind of had him on our radar for a few years," Zimmer said. "When he was at Washington he played quite a bit. He played some of their big package. He played some on the offensive line at multiple positions. We felt like he'd be good. I know they've talked about him for three years now."
Zimmer was asked Wednesday if the team is keeping an eye on potential free-agent guards.
“Well, we’re looking at all the free-agent areas, really,” Zimmer said. “That’s what those guys do at night. They come in here and watch. Heck, they watch other teams, they watch guys on the street."