Much like the Vikings, the Falcons were forced into a signing this week because of injuries. In Atlanta's case that came at wide receiver.
Signing Jerome Pathon as a free agent this week was a preemptive strike based on injuries this year to Dez White
and Roddy White
and setbacks Brian Finneran
endured last season.
How much Pathon plays against the Vikings is unclear, but he provides depth at the position. The Atlanta receiving corps is coming off its best game with Finneran, Michael Jenkins
, Alge Crumpler
, Dwayne Blakley
, Justin Griffith
and Warrick Dunn
each catching a pass.
Finneran and Jenkins combined for eight receptions, 105 yards receiving and one touchdown. They will need to provide at least that much production against a secondary that's been rebuilt to pair Fred Smoot
and Darren Sharper
with Corey Chavous
and Antoine Winfield
The Falcons, who lead the NFL in rushing for the second straight year, will continue to rely on Dunn, T.J. Duckett
and Michael Vick
to control the clock, but Atlanta needs for Roddy White to start making some contributions to keep opponents from crowding the box and blitzing nonstop.
WR Dez White practiced Wednesday, but he is still far from 100 percent after injuring his hamstring at Seattle two weeks ago and missing the Buffalo game. Brian Finneran might start in his place for the second straight game.
WR Roddy White needs to catch his first career pass to restore some confidence that surely must he down a bit after making no difference in the first three games.
RDE Brady Smith is back after missing two games with strained quadriceps. With Smith pressuring Bryant McKinnie, the Falcons might bring more blitzes from the right side.
CB Allen Rossum hopes to return punts and kickoffs, but the successful debut last week of Chris Cash could give Atlanta secondary coach Brett Maxie more options in nickel and dime coverages.
P Michael Koenen has helped the Falcons resume their standing as one of the top coverage units in the NFL. The team has downed five of his 18 attempts inside the 20-yard line.