Secondary Feeling Sting of Injuries

The Vikings' veteran secondary could be without another player this Sunday as cornerback Antoine Winfield is struggling with a hamstring injury this week, the same injury that caused safety Dwight Smith to miss the last two games.

Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield sat out Thursday's practice because of a hamstring injury and it's uncertain if he will be able to play Sunday against San Diego.

Winfield first appeared on the Vikings' injury report Wednesday when he was held out of a portion of practice. The Vikings already are ranked last in the NFL in pass defense and could be in big trouble if the veteran starting left corner is unable to play.

Asked about Winfield's hamstring injury, coach Brad Childress said: "All those things are different. He said he feels much better this morning. ... He is mobile."

Veteran safety Dwight Smith has missed the past two games after trying to play through a hamstring injury; Smith admits it probably would have been best to sit out earlier and you have to wonder if the Vikings will feel it's best to rest Winfield now before his injury gets worse.

Winfield is third on the Vikings with 54 tackles and has one interception and a team-leading nine pass breakups.

If Winfield can't go, the Vikings could start either Charles Gordon or rookie Marcus McCauley in his spot. Gordon replaced McCauley in the nickel defense last Sunday against Philadelphia. Second-year player Cedric Griffin is the starter at the right corner.

NOTES

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson is expected to start Sunday against San Diego after missing a game because of a broken index finger on his right (throwing) hand. Jackson was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but that is believed to be a precaution.

  • QB Kelly Holcomb did not practice Wednesday or Thursday; he will miss at least two weeks because of a neck injury suffered last Sunday.

  • WR Bobby Wade did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a knee injury and his availability for Sunday's game appears to be in question.

  • DE Brian Robison was able to take part in a limited role in Thursday's practice after sitting out Wednesday because of an illness.

  • WR Troy Williamson was not with the team for a second consecutive day Thursday because of a death in the family.

  • RT Ryan Cook was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a shoulder injury but is expected to play against the Chargers.

  • LB Vinny Ciurciu was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a high-ankle sprain. He has missed the past two games.

  • S Dwight Smith was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a hamstring injury that has kept him out the past two games.

  • DE Erasmus James was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a shoulder injury. He has played in only one game this season.


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