A Chance to Pass?

The Vikings may not know who their starting quarterback on Sunday will be, but they do know that they'll be facing a rookie safety making his first start.

The league's youngest team will be counting on another of its fresh-faced players. Rookie Aaron Rouse will be pressed into a starting role at free safety in place of an injured Nick Collins.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that Collins suffered a strained ligament in his left knee during the third quarter of the 33-22 win at Kansas City on Sunday.

The nature of the strain wasn't disclosed, but McCarthy said Collins would be out at least a couple weeks. Surgery won't be needed.

"It looked a lot worse on film," McCarthy said. "The evaluation (Monday) was actually positive. The MRI was positive, based on what (team doctor) Pat McKenzie said, because we all figured the worst the way he went down."

In steps Rouse, a third-round draft pick. He played most of the second half Sunday and received a positive assessment from the coaches, but it was only his second game in which he had playing time on defense.

Rouse missed an extended period early in the season because of a hamstring injury. McCarthy, though, feels the former Virginia Tech standout is up to speed in the scheme and can be effective in a full-time role.

"He's done a nice job. He's very bright," McCarthy said. "If you go back to the OTAs, he picked up the defense very quickly. It's his opportunity, and a lot of young players get their opportunity this way. I have no concerns about him. You don't really know until they play in the real games, and it's his time."

Rouse is an intriguing prospect as a safety because of his 6-4 size and athleticism.


  • DT Corey Williams was knocked out of Sunday's game in the third quarter with an injury to his right knee. The injury had yet to be diagnosed Monday, but head coach Mike McCarthy didn't consider it to be serious.

  • RB Ryan Grant left the game in the fourth quarter with a mild concussion. How long he might be out has yet to be determined. Grant made his first pro start.

  • DT Ryan Pickett aggravated a bruised knee as he played the entire game. His recovery will be assessed as the week progresses, but he should be OK to play Sunday against Minnesota.

  • TE Bubba Franks is at least a couple weeks away from returning, McCarthy said. Franks has missed the last two games because of a sprained knee.

  • LB Tracy White, a key special-teams contributor, suffered an ankle sprain but finished the game Sunday.

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