Accurately predicting and preparing for scenarios his Rams might encounter ranks is one of Sean McVay’s coaching strengths.
Not even McVay, however, anticipated that star cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters would be sidelined in the same game — and perhaps for part of the season.
Talib could be headed to surgery for an ankle injury, and Peters might be sidelined because of a calf strain, McVay said Monday, the fallout from Sunday’s victory over the Chargers.
“You try not to think about those things,” McVay said during a news conference in Thousand Oaks, “but you always do have to plan.”
On Tuesday, Talib will seek a second opinion regarding surgery, McVay said. Peters will be assessed by team medical staff to determine whether he might be available for Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Coliseum.
But cornerbacks Nickell Robey-Coleman, Sam Shields and Troy Hill appear on track to play in combination against a Vikings team that is 1-1-1 after Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
“Marcus and Aqib are incredible players who we love and want to have out there again soon,” quarterback Jared Goff said after Sunday’s game. “But it’s good to see guys step up.
“Guys like Sam and other guys step into that role and are able to fill in nicely.”
Talib, an 11th-year pro, was acquired in an offseason trade with the Denver Broncos. He is a team captain and made several key plays in the Rams’ Week 2 shutout of the Arizona Cardinals.
The Rams already have two players on injured reserve — kick returner Pharoh Cooper and receiver Mike Thomas — and can designate only two players to return. So McVay said the Rams would hold off on making a determination about Talib, who is earning $11 million this season.
“That’s going to be dependent upon the nature of what does the recovery timetable look like,” McVay said.
His injury was initially regarded as potentially more severe, but an MRI exam brought better news.
“We’re really encouraged by the news we got,” McVay said. “We’ll see how he feels [Tuesday].”
Kick returner JoJo Natson, who suffered a broken left hand Sunday, had surgery Monday. He will not play against the Vikings but might return in time to play Oct. 7 against the Seattle Seahawks, McVay said.
Receiver Cooper Kupp will probably return punts, and safety Blake Countess will return kickoffs against the Vikings, McVay said.
Defensive lineman Dominique Easley is questionable for Thursday’s game, McVay said, because of a knee injury.
Dealing with injuries makes the Rams no different from other NFL teams coping with situations that affect personnel.
“This is the hand we are dealt,” McVay said, “and all we can do is handle it to the best of our ability.”
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein