September 6, 2010

Saints LB's, Vikings DB's reeling from injury

The Saints' linebacking corps, already in flux from the departure of Scott Fujita, lost starter Jonathan Casillas to a painful Lisfranc fracture in the preseason finale. 

The Vikings defensive backs have been injured as well.  On Monday, Minnesota fielded only three healthy cornerbacks at practice.

Starters Antoine Winfield and Lito Sheppard are healthy, as is nickel back Asher Allen who was victimized multiple times in the NFC Championship game.

But rookie CB Chris Cook (knee meniscus tear) will not play after beating Sheppard out for a starting job, and veteran Cedric Griffin is not expected to play while fighting his way back from a knee injury suffered against the Saints in January.

A day after defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier ruled Griffin out of the season opener, head coach Brad Childress started the game of injury disinformation by telling reporters not to rule Griffin out yet. 

The Vikings have corneback Marcus Sherels on the practice squad but appear intent not to call him up.  Backup safety Husain Abdullah may be forced to play nickelback.

Meanwhile, Vikings backup safety Jamarca Sanford (ankle) was limited in practice on Monday. 

Just as the Saints may regret losing a bidding war for SLB Scott Fujita, the Vikings could use the services of CB Benny Sapp, who they traded to the Dolphins in late August. 

Look for the Saints to spread the Vikings defense wide, considering their thin depth at defensive back, while the Vikings will rely on a strong pass rush to shield their secondary from pressure.

Meanwhile, starting Saints middle linebacker and team captain Jonathan Vilma (abductor) was limited in practice and hopes to play.

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