Brad Childress did his best two-step around answering questions Friday about who will start at right cornerback, but, after some prodding, announced that Cedric Griffin would replace Fred Smoot as the team's starter. But, considering what the Arizona Cardinals bring to the table, there isn't much of a difference between being the starter and the nickel back.
As the Patriots, Packers and Dolphins have shown, spreading the Vikings defense out and abandoning the run has been the standard M.O. over the last month. In many instances, the Vikings have been forced to go with five defensive backs. As if that isn't enough, a look at the Cardinals depth chart speaks volumes to their plan anyway.
In their base offense, the Cardinals list Anquan Boldin as the X-wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald as the H-wide receiver and Bryant Johnson as the Y-wide receiver. In most formations, the team is going to have three wide receivers on the field anyway. That, combined with other teams' ability to throw early and often on the Vikings will mean that the chances are that the Cardinals will have plenty of three- or four-receiver sets and whether Smoot is officially the starter or Griffin is really is a moot point, not a Smoot point. Both Griffin and Smoot will likely be on the field 80 percent of the time or more. Who is technically the starter isn't going to matter that much after the first play.
* Matt Leinart has the lowest passer rating of any quarterback with enough attempts to officially count in the NFL standings (14 passes per game played by that team) at 68.1
* Both Artis Hicks and Marcus Johnson remained listed as questionable and are likely going to be replaced by Jason Whittle and Mike Rosenthal Sunday.
* Chester Taylor needs 137 rushing yards Sunday to reach 1,000 yards for the season.
* The Vikings have committed 73 penalties through 10 games. While that number is very high, opponents have committed 74 penalties during that span.
* Darren Sharper was fined $15,000 for running into an official during last Sunday's game. Sharper intends to appeal the fine and may have a friend in high places -- the league's appeals officer is former Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.
* Justin Peelle of the Dolphins was fined $2,500 for a chop block on Kevin Williams.
* With Arizona's Bertrand Berry out for the year, the plan is to move Antonio Smith to right end and move Calvin Pace back to the defensive line. After spending his first three years on the line, Pace has spent all season playing linebacker, where he says he felt comfortable. But, with depth problems at DE, he made the switch back to the line this week.
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