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Jimmy Graham to attempt to play with injured thumb

Mike Daniels out a couple weeks with foot injury as Packers prepare to face Vikings on the road


GREEN BAY – There's both good news and bad news on the injury front for the Packers.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that tight end Jimmy Graham was going to try to continue playing with his injured thumb, but defensive lineman Mike Daniels would likely be out "a couple weeks" with his injured foot.

Graham injured his thumb in the first half of last Thursday's game in Seattle and did not return to the contest. Some media reports have indicated the thumb is broken, but McCarthy did not give a definitive diagnosis. No specifics were provided on Daniels' injury, either.

"I know he intends to try to go," McCarthy said of Graham as the team began preparation for Sunday night's game at Minnesota. "There's going to be a transition through the practice week. We'll see about different splints and things like that. We'll just have to work through it."

Even with Graham's intention to play, there's a chance fellow tight end Robert Tonyan will get more snaps on offense after his scramble-drill 54-yard touchdown catch against the Seahawks.

Undrafted and a member of the Packers' practice squad late last season, Tonyan made the roster as a fourth tight end out of training camp behind a trio of veterans and hadn't caught an NFL pass until Thursday night.

"It's nice to see. The play he was involved in was a big play," McCarthy said "He's ready to go. I thought he really came on there in the preseason."

Another player making his presence felt is return man Trevor Davis, who came off injured reserve and played for the first time this season in Seattle.

Unfortunately, his best return – which came on a kickoff he brought back beyond midfield – was called back on a holding penalty, but the Packers are glad to have his game-breaking talent back on special teams.

"I thought for his first day back, especially up there, he handled the ball cleanly," McCarthy said. "You can see the confidence. He had some tight, phone-booth catches there on the (punt) returns. He definitely makes a difference for us back there."

The biggest difference the offense can make is to get more efficient on third down. The Packers' conversion rate is abnormally low for an Aaron Rodgers offense, and while early in the year, the long distances needed on third downs were the trouble, they've been more manageable lately without the needed uptick in results.

The Packers were 3-for-11 in Seattle, getting sacked four times on third down and missing on a lot of opportunities to add to their 24 points. A few weeks prior, despite scoring 27 points in Los Angeles, Green Bay was 2-for-9.

"It comes down to the obvious. We just have to execute better," McCarthy said. "We have to focus as coaches to make sure we're giving our guys the right concepts, the ability to adjust and the time frame to do it.

"It really comes down to execution. We definitely got the first part right. The down-and-distance on third down is much better of late than early in the season."

This week, the Packers will wrap up their daunting stretch of four road games in five weeks, with three of them coming in prime time. Green Bay is 4-5-1 and on the fringe of playoff contention, but more crucially the Packers are 0-5 on the road and still in search of their first victory in 2018 away from Lambeau Field.

"This is all about beating the Vikings," McCarthy said. "We clearly understand where we are in our season from the big picture, but we need to win this division game.

"The message today is there's not a whole lot to talk about. We knew this four-game stretch was going to be a challenge, and we didn't hit the target.

"We fully intend to go into Minnesota and win this game, but we need to play better in certain spots, and we'll focus on ourselves like we always have."

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