Winfield, Rice Very Iffy for Sunday

As the Vikings prepare for their biggest test of the season as they make a run for the playoffs, they are likely going to be without two key pieces to their puzzle -- or at least have them in a greatly reduced role if either can play.

The Vikings appear as though they're going to be shorthanded at a couple of key spots Sunday. For a second straight day, Antoine Winfield (pectoral), Sidney Rice (ankle) and Dontarrious Thomas (groin) missed practice.

Rice has been developing into a go-to target for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, so if his ankle doesn't cooperate, it will be a blow to a Vikings offense that is seeing more and more teams stacking the box to stop Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor and giving the wide receivers single coverage and daring T-Jack to beat them.

The good news if Rice can't go is that Troy Williamson is 100 percent. In fact, Williamson was preparing to play last Monday night but was a healthy scratch as the Vikings to kept Aundrae Allison on the 48-man active roster and de-activated Williamson. He's been taking snaps with the first team the last two days and will be ready if Rice can't go, which is looking more and more likely.

Winfield remains another uncertainty. He has missed time this season with a hamstring injury, so if his shoulder strain doesn't allow him to play, rookie Marcus McCauley will again take his place. McCauley has held up well under the strain of being the "new guy" in the secondary and knowing that opposing quarterbacks are going to try to pick on him.

We'll find out more today when the Vikings submit their injury report to the league. It is expected that, at a minimum, Winfield, Rice and Thomas will all be listed as questionable at best, but there is a good chance all three might be inactive for Sunday's crucial showdown with the Redskins.

* Sunday's game officially sold out Thursday, as the team didn't require an assist from a local television affiliate. It goes to show what winning can do – three weeks ago there were more than 6,000 tickets remaining for the game.
* The Redskins' safety depth could be tested as much as it has ever been. Aside from the tragic death of Sean Taylor, Redskins safeties LaRon Landry and Pierson Prioleau both missed practice Thursday with a quadriceps and hamstring injury, respectively.
* Ray Edwards is spending his suspension working out at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz. By league rule, he can't have any contact with team officials or work out at Winter Park during his suspension, so Edwards is doing his best to stay in top shape for what he hopes will be a return for the playoffs.
* In the Christmas miracle department, Williamson's brother Carlton, who has been in and out of a coma since a September car accident in which he was delivering chairs for a family wedding reception, has come out of the coma and is doing much better just in time for the holidays.

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