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Andre Smith to Have Surgery; Zimmer Praises Kerin, Easton

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer announced Monday that right tackle Andre Smith has been placed on injured reserve and is scheduled to undergo triceps surgery on Tuesday.

Smith, who signed with Minnesota as a free agent this offseason, was injured during the Vikings win over the New York Giants on Oct. 3.

Zimmer praised the play of Jeremiah Sirles, who stepped in for Smith at right tackle in that game and started in Sunday's win over Houston.

Brandon Fusco suffered a concussion early against the Texans, and Zac Kerin replaced him at right guard.

"Zac Kerin came in after six plays and played well," Zimmer said. "Sirles went out to right tackle and played well.

"The thing that I like about this football team is that they prepare, they study, they get ready to go play," he added. "They take this stuff serious so that during the week when we get going, they're all in on trying to get better."

Zimmer pointed to Kerin and offensive lineman Nick Easton as valuable pieces who were ready to play when their number was called.

According to Zimmer, the Vikings had planned to use Kerin as a tight end in an offensive line-heavy package on Sunday. But when Fusco went out and Kerin moved into a starting role, Easton slid out to tight end in the personnel package, a position he didn't even practice at during the week.

"He was prepared to do it," Zimmer said of Easton. "Late in the game and in goal line and some things, he did a nice job.

"But it was all about his preparation and really, the team's preparation," he added.

On the left side, tackle T.J. Clemmings made his third straight start in place of Matt Kalil, who is on injured reserve with a hip injury.

Zimmer said Clemmings had an up-and-down game against the Texans strong pass rush.

"A lot of times during the game he played well," Zimmer said. "And then he'll have just crazy things he does — he sets too wide, he lunges with his hands, he gets beat quickly.

"We have to get that fixed quick," he added.

With the Vikings off this weekend on their bye, Zimmer said getting the offensive line in sync is one of his top priorities.

"The offensive line is still a work in progress in some things," Zimmer said. "We're going to have to get better there.

"We're going to have to get some more efficient runs than we had," he added. "That'll be our focus going into next week during the bye."

Zimmer also said the Vikings worked out tackle Jake Long on Monday. Long was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

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