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Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson sprains MCL

Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlsonsuffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee during a running play in Tuesday's practice, Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press reports.

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Head coach Leslie Frazier said that Carlson did not tear a ligament and will not require surgery, but might not be back in time for the Vikings' preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 10.

"You don't have to have any surgery. It heals by itself," Frazier said. "It's a little bit more of a pain-tolerance thing and how he feels."

Carlson was signed to a five-year, $25 million contract in March and was expected to compete with 2011 second-round draft pick Kyle Rudolph for the starting job this summer. Carlson losing a few weeks of practice time, and potentially a preseason game or two, could give Rudolph an edge in the competition, though both are expected to see significant playing time in the regular season.

A 2008 second-round pick out of Notre Dame by the Seattle Seahawks, Carlson caught over 50 passes in each of his two seasons before seeing his production dip to 31 receptions in 2010. Since then, Carlson has made headlines mostly for suffering injuries and securing a hefty contract. Carlson suffered a concussion on the opening series of the Seahawks' playoff loss to the Chicago Bears in 2010 and he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder last summer.

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