INSIDE CHARGERS CAMP:
The Chargers roll into Minnesota on Sunday for a slam dunk of a game. With a three-game winning streak in tow and going against the struggling Vikings, the Chargers should have an easy day, right?
Not so fast.
If there was ever a trap game this might be it. The Chargers are not only on the road -- it'll be the first start in a dome for Philip Rivers -- but they also have the Colts coming to San Diego next week.
Might the Chargers peek past the Vikings?
Not a chance, according to defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.
"I think our guys, from our standpoint, know where we were in the first part of the year," Cottrell said. "We are long ways from being out of the woods. We've got a long way to go and we are still trying to dig ourselves out of it."
Cottrell, who was a failure as the Vikings' defensive coordinator from 2004-05, has preached to his players that the 2-5 Vikings are a dangerous team.
"It's going to be good a good game; it is a huge challenge for us," he said. "They are much better than their record appears and they have weapons to contend with."
The biggest, of course, is Adrian Peterson. The rookie is leading the NFL in rushing and will test a Chargers run defense which seldom struggles.
That run defense gets a boost with the return of Jamal Williams, the Pro Bowl nose tackle who missed last week's game to rest his mending knees.
"Oh (Peterson) has got it all," Cottrell said. "He has vision, acceleration -- he's tough. He can run up inside on you and he can go around the corner. He is quite gifted and he has good hands to catch the ball. He is a gigantic challenge for us."
Peterson has gotten the Chargers' attention. So did a 1-3 start in which the Chargers have just recovered from in being above .500 for the first time this season.
INSIDE VIKINGS CAMP:
Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield sat out Thursday's practice because of a hamstring injury and it's uncertain if he will be able to play Sunday against San Diego.
Winfield first appeared on the Vikings' injury report Wednesday when he was held out of a portion of practice. The Vikings already are ranked last in the NFL in pass defense and could be in big trouble if the veteran starting left corner is unable to play.
Asked about Winfield's hamstring injury, coach Brad Childress said: "All those things are different. He said he feels much better this morning. ... He is mobile."
Veteran safety Dwight Smith has missed the past two games after trying to play through a hamstring injury; Smith admits it probably would have been best to sit out earlier and you have to wonder if the Vikings will feel it's best to rest Winfield now before his injury gets worse.
Winfield is third on the Vikings with 54 tackles and has one interception and a team-leading nine pass breakups.
If Winfield can't go, the Vikings could start either Charles Gordon or rookie Marcus McCauley in his spot. Gordon replaced McCauley in the nickel defense last Sunday against Philadelphia. Second-year player Cedric Griffin is the starter at the right corner.
Are Bolts looking past the Vikings?
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