Sharper Likely Out For Sunday

Safety Darren Sharper appears almost certain to miss his second straight game with a knee injury, as the Vikings limp into the bye with several injuries and question marks.

When the Vikings signed Darren Sharper, they were hoping for a guy who could create big plays and make big hits. In the opener vs. the Bucs, he did just that -- scoring a TD on an interception return.

But now it appears as though Sharper will miss Sunday's game. While he suited up for practice Thursday at Winter Park, he saw very little action and will almost certainly be de-activated for Sunday's game.

With Willie Offord on injured reserve, Ken Irvin -- a converted cornerback -- will start at free safety with Corey Chavous manning the strong safety position.

* Kenechi Udeze was downgraded from questionable to doubtful and it doesn't look like either he or Lance Johnstone will be available Sunday.
* The Vikings plan to do some line rotation on offense. Centers Cory Withrow and Melvin Fowler are both expected to see action, while the team will continue a three-man rotation at right guard with Marcus Johnson, Adam Goldberg and Anthony Hererra.
* The Falcons have some injuries of their own in the secondary. Starter Kevin Mathis is on injured reserve and fellow corners Jason Webster and Allen Rossum both missed last week's game -- although both are listed as probable.
* Former Viking Robert Smith has signed on with ESPN to do gameday coverage from the studios in Bristol, Conn.

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