Secondary coming into focus

Husain Abdullah (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)

The Vikings' secondary held up short-handed against a pass-happy Saints team. Changes are likely as players heal up, but it appears Husain Abdullah is staying a starter at safety.

Cornerback Chris Cook was back at practice for the first time Monday following a meniscus injury in the third preseason game. The Vikings went into the Saints game with just three healthy cornerbacks and they may have to do the same against Miami.

Cook, who declined to comment following practice, isn't 100 percent and head coach Brad Childress said that, while the team returned to the practice field Monday, Cook wasn't able to fully participate.

"He went through some individual periods," Childress said. "He doesn't look completely comfortable. As always, it'll be how he comes back in and treats (the injury) and how he shows back up. But he did some football-specific stuff (Monday) out in the grass during the individuals."

Cook's return may be set back by the fact that the Vikings' next two games – vs. Miami and Detroit – will both be played on the turf at the Metrodome. Although softer and improved, it is still artificial turf that can grab and make an injury worse.

While there has been a lot of discussion about the Vikings holding a cattle call of veteran available receivers, Childress said he was satisfied for the most part with the play of his depleted cornerbacks.

"I thought those guys did some good things all the way around," Childress said. "Whether it was Lito (Sheppard) play at the right corner or Asher Allen swinging back and forth, I thought they did some good things – particularly in terms of tackling. I thought you saw Asher show up and be able to stick a knife in some things. Lito had a couple of nice tackles as well and Antoine is Antoine."

Cedric Griffin, who is making progress with his surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament, said the secondary played well.

"Going with only three corners, they did a great job," Griffin said. "Antoine's our leader out there and Lito did a great job, Asher as well. Our secondary, they stood up to the challenge. When me and Cook (are) back, we'll be an addition to the team and we'll make plays out there."

One player who found his way out of the starting lineup was safety Tyrell Johnson. Husain Abdullah got the start, and Childress said he believed Abdullah earned the job.

"It's always what happens on the football field and I think Husain had a better overall camp and a better overall preseason than Tyrell – at least in our estimation," Childress said. "It's all encompassing. Whether it's coverage, blitzing, adjustments, playing by the line of scrimmage, playing man-to-man. It's really the whole body of things. We feel like (Abdullah) gave us the best chance to win, so he started back there."

As the Vikings entered play last Thursday, the secondary was a huge concern. With Cook and Cedric Griffin on the mend and getting closer to returning, it doesn't seem like nearly as big a concern heading into the preparation for the Dolphins this week.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • Kicker Rhys Lloyd, who was signed away from the Carolina Panthers as a free agent, is working out with the Panthers and may be re-signed by his old team this week.

  • Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who missed last week's pre-game practices and was inactive against the Saints, returned to practice Monday.

  • The two-disc history of the Vikings DVD goes on sale today at most major stores and on-line locations.

  • With Week 1 officially over, any contracts signed by vested veteran players will not be guaranteed for the duration of the 2010 season. Don't be surprised to see a handful of signings this week of veteran players.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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