Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer has been better with each of his three starts and he knows how depleted the Vikings secondary is without Antoine Winfield. Expect the veteran to look for Minnesota's weaknesses.
We won't find out until Sunday whether the statements made Friday by Oakland Raiders
quarterback Carson Palmer
will come to fruition or not, but he's convinced the Raiders are going to be able to take advantage of the depleted Vikings secondary when the Raiders come to the Metrodome to play the Vikings.
In an interview with the local Raiders media contingent, Palmer was asked whether the loss of Antoine Winfield
, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, is going to make a big difference in a Vikings secondary already without suspended cornerback Chris Cook
and concussed safety Husain Abdullah
"It definitely changes things," Palmer said. "(Winfield has) been a great player in this league for a long time. He can play all over the place – in the slot, outside, he can blitz, cover and tackle. Losing him was definitely a hit for (the Vikings)."
He may have a point. The Raiders don't have a go-to receiver. Darrius Heyward-Bey
leads the team in receptions with just 27. Rookie Denarius Moore
has been the primary scoring target with four TDs. Eight different Raiders have accounted for the team's 13 touchdown passes. Like the Vikings, they are a team that spreads the ball around. Unlike the Vikings, they have depth in players with deep speed that can make big plays, even without receiver/kickoff return man Jacoby Ford
, who is out with an injury.
The Raiders come into Sunday's game as a team known much more for its running prowess than passing largesse. But, Palmer, who was admitted rusty in throwing six interceptions in his first six quarters after coming off his self-imposed exile from Cincinnati, is starting his third game and coming off his most impressive performance as a Raider in the team's 24-17 over San Diego Nov. 10. He has had 10 days of getting to know his new offense better and the results have been increasingly better in each of the three games in which he has played.
While it may be a stretch to think that Palmer is going to look like Tom Brady
or Peyton Manning
surgically picking apart the Vikings defense, he may have a point when it comes to the Winfield comment. If there was ever a time the Vikings needed Winfield in the lineup, it would be this week – as Abdullah hasn't been cleared to play and Cook has been forbidden from playing. The Vikings secondary is as exposed as it has been in some time and, if the Raiders can exploit it like Aaron Rodgers
did Monday night, it could become a trend that is repeated throughout the remainder of the 2011 season.
The final injury reports were released Friday and, as expected, Abdullah and guard Anthony Herrera (knee) were both listed as out. Deposed starter Tyrell Johnson is expected to replace Abdullah and Joe Berger will continue to serve as right guard in replacement of Herrera.
Erin Henderson and Visanthe Shiancoe are both listed as questionable with hamstring injuries.
Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour didn't practice again Friday, which, according to Bay Area reports, came as something of a surprise to head coach Hue Jackson. Seymour is listed as questionable, but Jackson said the team will err on the side of caution when it comes to the long-term health of the team, which could mean Seymour could either be inactive or play a greatly reduced role Sunday.
The Raiders have their own problems in the secondary. Not only did they have to replace Nnamdi Asomugha, they are without cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday after trying to give his ailing hamstring a go Wednesday. Safety Michael Huff suffered a setback to his ankle injury this week and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke and safety Michael Mitchell, both of whom have been slowed with hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively, are listed as questionable. Perhaps Christian Ponder will be the QB lighting up a depleted defense Sunday.
Steve Hutchinson is going to host an early Thanksgiving meal Tuesday at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital in Minneapolis for the young patients and their families. The event is expected to provide meals for more than 100 people. Joining Hutchinson will be teammates Tyrell Johnson, John Sullivan, Joe Webb, Patrick Brown and Kerry Taylor.
E.J. Henderson will host his fourth annual turkey giveaway Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Cub Foods at 701 West Broadway in Minneapolis. Henderson will distribute 3,500 turkeys to families in need. He will be joined by Michael Jenkins, Letroy Guion and Everson Griffen.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.