Chris Cook has been sidelined the past two games because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. Cedric Griffin is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and strong safety Husain Abdullah had to leave Sunday's victory over Dallas in the second quarter because of a concussion.
The Cowboys did the Vikings a favor in Minnesota's 24-21 win by sticking with a short passing game that served as an attempt to avoid the rush. When Tony Romo did throw the ball down the field, he had success. Romo completed touchdown passes of 15 and 2 yards to Roy Williams and 31 yards to Dez Bryant.
All three came at the expense of veteran Lito Sheppard, who played the left corner in nickel situations when veteran Antoine Winfield moved inside.
"I think we felt like he could've played a little better technique on the one down in the end zone, an inside technique to deny that slant," Vikings coach Brad Childress said of the second touchdown by Williams. "And (Sheppard) was about to make a great play on the ball there (on the third touchdown). I think it hit his hands, and Bryant makes a great play on the ball."
That play came in the front corner of the end zone as Bryant used his size advantage — Bryant is 6-foot-2, Sheppard is 5-10 — to go up and make the catch.
The Vikings hope to get Cook back for Sunday night's game at Green Bay, meaning he likely would be the starter at the right corner and Asher Allen, who started in place of Griffin against Dallas, would be used in nickel situations. The Vikings also signed veteran cornerback Frank Walker last week, but he's expected to remain behind Allen on the depth chart.
"That's a broken record in here," Childress said after the Vikings' victory over Dallas. "You say he got hit a lot every week. Quarterbacks get hit in this league. Tony Romo got hit a lot. There are some of those things, the continuation of plays, those guys are going to get hit. ... We're paying him enough every game. He's going to get hit."
"That's probably the most dominating performance you can have without having a sack," Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen said. "We were hitting him all day. Look at the pressure we were putting on. It was forcing bad throws, quick throws. It was good."