Hovan's Starting Job In Jeopardy

With complaints both from coaches and the media, the Vikings made a move some people have been calling for over the last year -- potentially benching Chris Hovan.

Chris Hovan became a media darling a couple of years ago when he let it be known that he holds a longstanding obsession over Brett Favre. Hovan was the focal point of the Vikings defensive line.

That cycle seemed to hit bottom Wednesday when Hovan was demoted to the second-team defense for much of the afternoon practice -- and all of the 40 minutes the media were allowed to watch.

In his place was Steve Martin, who was hinted could get a chance to start against his former team this Sunday. As you would imagine, Hovan isn't happy about the perception that he has lost his edge.

The fact of the matter is that the days of Hovan being double-teamed -- the original excuse for lack of consistent tackle numbers are over. Kevin Williams is getting most of the interior attention, and he was when Hovan went three-and-a-half games without a tackle last year and, through three games this year, Hovan has just two solo tackles, three assists, four QB hurries and no sacks.

The fact is that the Vikings need to put their best players on the field on game day. If that turns out to not be Hovan, so be it. Whether this is used as a bye-week ploy (see below) or not, we'll know a lot more about the status of Hovan Sunday.

* Hovan isn't the only Viking who is competing to start Sunday. Competitions are underway with Mike Nattiel and Raonall Smith at linebacker, as well as battles for backup spots at right tackle (Adam Goldberg and Adam Haayer), nickel back (Ralph Brown and Rushen Jones) and defensive end (Darrion Scott and Chuck Wiley).
* Two Texans are listed as question marks for Sunday. Safety Eric Brown (knee) is listed as doubtful, while running back Domanick Davis, who missed last Sunday's game with an ankle injury, is listed as questionable.
* E.J. Henderson, Jermaine Wiggins and Chris Claiborne are all viewed as out for Sunday.
* Matt Birk remained limited in practice but is still feeling he will play vs. the Texans.
* Michael Bennett has targeted the Oct. 24 game vs. the Titans for his return.

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