ALAMEDA, Calif. — Raiders right tackle Trent Brown was back on the field Friday after missing the first two practices of the week. The Raiders listed Brown as questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings with his knee injury, after he was a full participant in Friday’s session.
“He’s still sore. He looked good today, though,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s a tough guy. Hopefully he’s ready to go on Sunday.”
Brown left the field at the beginning of the media viewing window for practice but was back as stretching ended to take his reps in the Raiders’ starting lineup.
Also on the offensive line, right guard Denzelle Good (ankle) was limited in Friday’s session and is listed as questionable. Gruden said Good suffered the injury in individual drills. With Richie Incognito back as the starting left guard after his two-game suspension, Gruden said Jordan Devey could flop over to right guard if Good is unable to play Sunday.
Wide receiver J.J. Nelson (ankle) is not in doubt for Sunday, with Gruden saying the free-agent signee will play.
“He’s a guy that had a great training camp for us,” Gruden said. “He was getting a lot of reps for a lot of reasons, and he took advantage of them. But we need the speed, no doubt.”
With return specialist Dwayne Harris (ankle) out for Sunday’s game, Gruden said he wasn’t sure if Trevor Davis — acquired from the Green Bay Packers this week — would be the Raiders’ returner for Sunday. While it’s a possibility, Gruden said it’s important Davis to know enough offense to fill in at wide receiver in addition to any special teams duties.
“But, there’s a 50/50 chance he’s up,” Gruden said.
Defensive tackle P.J. Hall (illness), defensive tackle Corey Liuget (knee), linebacker Vontaze Burfict (shoulder/knee) and slot corner Lamarcus Joyner (groin) are also listed as questionable for Sunday.
Guenther vs. Zimmer
With two coaches who worked together for years, the Raiders and Vikings defenses have a lot in common.
Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther worked under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer from 2008-2013 with the Cincinnati Bengals. Guenther took over as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator in 2014, when Zimmer was hired as the Vikings’ head coach.
“Zim’s a good coach,” Guenther said this week. “I learned a lot from him.”
In their shared time in Cincinnati, the Bengals ranked in the top 10 in defense four times, including 2013 when the team went 11-5 to win the AFC North.
While Zimmer and Guenther both have their own wrinkles to their defenses, Guenther says the foundation of the system comes from Zimmer. And that has helped the Raiders in their preparation for this week’s game.
Quarterback Derek Carr said it’s probably easier for the scout-team defense to get lined up when they’re running the Vikings’ scheme than it is for most other weeks.
“There’s other things that coach Zimmer’s doing and their defensive coordinator that’s a little bit different, and we have to prepare for and all those kinds of things,” Carr said. “But it does help to have at least some base of knowledge that you’ve seen some of it.”
Zimmer said this week he has noticed the Raiders’ defense is much improved in 2019, particularly with Burfict calling the signals as the team’s middle linebacker.
“He understands the system so well,” Zimmer said. “But they’ve got good players up front — much, much improved in the back end as well. So, yeah, I think they’re going to continue to get better.”
Zimmer said he and Guenther remain friends and talk “from time to time.”
“I’m friends with his family and his wife and his kids,” Zimmer said.
But they won’t be too friendly on Sunday.
“We had really good times. He’s a good friend,” Guenther said. “I owe him a lot of gratitude for working with him — I learned a lot from him. But I’m gonna try to kick his ass on Sunday.”