Secondary Changes Become Primary

If the Vikings play the same 22 starters two weeks in a row, let us know. The changes are getting confusing.

Injuries hit every team. Ask the Bears why they've lost four straight. Injuries will be the answer.

But the Vikings are having injuries where they can least afford it -- a secondary that has been torched at full strength, much less partial.

VU was told Friday that there will be two new starters in the lineup Sunday, with a third becoming a question.

Head coach Mike Tice said that Brian Russell will start in place of Willie Offord at safety. With Tyrone Carter hampered with a knee injury, Eric Kelly has been tabbed as a starter at cornerback.

If that wasn't enough, the Vikings added CB Corey Chavous to the injury list Friday after he sprained an ankle in practice. While Chavous is fully expected to start, his being dinged is not viewed as a good sign.

Over the first seven games, the Vikings have switched lineups like Saturday Night Live. But, unlike SNL, the Vikes haven't found one that works yet.

SATURDAY NOTES
* The NFL should find a way to rank offenses like they do with the convoluted QB rankings. Through six games, the Vikings are ranked fourth in first downs on offense. Of the top 11 teams in that category, 10 have winning records and six are division leaders. Yet, the 1-5 Vikings are stuck in that improbable mix.
* In other player change news, Derrick Alexander will be a starter once again. After being demoted by Tice in hopes D'Wayne Bates could play Sunday, Bates continues to sit and VU has been told it's likely he will be deactivated Sunday.
* As reported earlier, a Bears source told VU Friday that it looks like both of the two top TEs on the Bears roster -- Fred Baxter and John Davis -- won't play Sunday.
* Chicago has allowed 25.6 points per game this season -- more than double the 12.6 average that topped the NFL last year.
* The Vikings remain a slim favorite in Las Vegas over the Bears. Barring the Giants game in November, Sunday may be the last game this year the Vikings are oddsmaker's favorites.

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