If Vikings players know who will wear the communication helmet in the absence of middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, they aren't letting on.
With E.J. Henderson
likely our for Monday night's game with two dislocated toes, it begs the question "who will wear the helmet?"
The helmet in question is the radio receiver helmet that brings in calls from the sidelines. For the first four games, that responsibility has fallen to Henderson. Now it's up for grabs.
There are three candidates for the job – linebacker David Herron
, who will replace Henderson if he can't go Monday, Ben Leber
, who wore the helmet last week after Henderson went down, and safety Darren Sharper
, who was initially slated to be the No. 2 guy if Henderson got wasn't in the lineup.
"I don't know who it will be yet," Leber said. "The coaches will probably figure that out during this week's practices.
The defensive radio helmet is in its first year of use after several years of use on the offensive side of the ball. Herron said he doesn't understand why quarterbacks seem to have so much trouble at times with it because he never had a problem.
"I wore it during the preseason games and I could hear just fine," Herron said. "I see quarterbacks cupping their ears to hear and don't get it. I never had a problem, even when things were loud in the stadium."
Sharper said he hasn't been told anything about it, so it likely will be either Herron or Leber wearing the green-dotted helmet. In the end, the Vikings will select one of the three to be the radio man, but, despite Sharper's assertion that he was No. 2 in line, he may end up being bypassed.
"We haven't told been yet," Herron said. "But I'm guessing it will be either me or Leber that wears it."
Henderson didn't take part in practice Thursday and is likely out. That could be determined this after when the league requires teams to make a designation on injured players for that weekend's games, including a Monday night game. TE Jim Kleinsasser also missed practice with a foot injury. Six others practiced on a limited basis – S Madieu Williams (neck), WR Sidney Rice (knee), DE Ray Edwards (shoulder), LB Vinny Ciurciu (knee), CB Benny Sapp (hamstring) and OT Drew Radovich (shoulder).
The Saints have already ruled WR Marques Colston (thumb), CB Aaron Glenn (ankle), David Patten (groin) and TE Jeremy Shockey (hernia) as out for Monday's game. Safety Chris Reis (hamstring) and DT Sedrick Ellis (knee) did not participate. Several players were listed as limited participation – TE Mark Campbell (hamstring), WR Terrance Copper (hamstring), LB Troy Evans (ankle), CB Randall Gay (hamstring), C Jonathan Goodwin (hamstring), RB Mike Karney (ankle), RB Aaron Stecker (hamstring) and RB Olaniyi Sobomehin (shoulder).
With Willie Parker injured and Rashard Mendenhall on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, former Viking Mewelde Moore will start for the Steelers Sunday night when they play Jacksonville.
Another former Vikings running back isn't so fortunate. Michael Bennett was inactive for the first three games of the season for Tampa Bay and spent last week's game merely playing on special teams.
The Bears will be without DT Tommie Harris this week at Detroit. He was suspended one game for violating team rules.