Special teams coach Mike Priefer said he made the recommendation to coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman that the team cut ties with K Ryan Longwell and draft a younger kicker, which they did in Blair Walsh.

“You hate to do that to any veteran,” said Priefer. “I recommended we do what we did. Rick and Leslie, we were all on the same page. It was a tough deal because he’s been a great kicker in this league for a long time. I just thought for the future of this team kickoff-wise and even field goal-wise I thought it was the best move.”

The return of Sherels’ punt returns: Several players have been taking reps at punt returner since camp opened, including WR Jarius Wright, WR Bryan Walters and CB Josh Robinson. Priefer said it is an open competition, but incumbent Marcus Sherels will have the duties going into the first preseason game next week.

The leg up on third RB: With RB Adrian Peterson rehabbing his knee, the competition for the third RB is heating up. RBs Jordan Todman and Lex Hilliard are battling for the spot, and Todman recently suffered a sprained ankle, which isn't serious but could cost him valuable reps. Special teams play will factor into the competition, according to Frazier.

“Lex has played in this league and been successful and one of his fortes is being a good special teams player,” said Frazier. “He’s a proven commodity in that area.

“Jordan has been a guy who has been on a practice squad, and he’s still learning the NFL. There’s a difference there, but he has some juice and that was one of the attractions when we signed him. They are different in where they are (at) in their careers.”

Injury bug continues to bite: OL Kevin Murphy was taken from the field, given a quick ice bath for apparent heat exhaustion. After practice, Frazier got an update and said that Murphy was fine. DE Jeff Charleston twisted an ankle in practice and will have an MRI. CB Eric Frampton, who left practice after bringing WR Stephen Burton down on his chest, had the wind knocked out of him, and he is reportedly fine. The results on OL Geoff Schwartz’s MRI had not come yet. Frazier expects to hear more Saturday.

Jobs on the line: The Vikings worked out two offensive linemen after practice Friday afternoon. Bridger Buche, who was released by the  Steelers on Thursday, and Grant Cook, who was cut by the Packers before camp.

For the latest news and reports on the Vikings, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLMIN and @joeoberle.