Defense fighting through injuries

Lito Sheppard (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)

The Vikings defense has been holding its own despite a series of injuries in the secondary. Rookie Chris Cook could be returning to the lineup on Sunday, which would be a needed boost.

While the Vikings' offense attempts to get on track, the defense has been holding its own despite having lost three key members of its secondary.

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.



NOTES

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress has grown tired of being asked about Brett Favre taking numerous hits.

    "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."

  • The Vikings did not have a sack against the Cowboys, but they did have six hits on quarterback Tony Romo.

    "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."

  • SS Husain Abdullah suffered a concussion Sunday. He will be evaluated throughout the week to determine if he can play this week at Green Bay.

  • CB Chris Cook missed a second consecutive game because of a knee injury, but the Vikings are hoping to get him back against the Packers. It's expected Cook would start at right corner when he does return.

  • QB Brett Favre threw for 118 yards against the Cowboys, his second-lowest total as a Viking. Favre threw for 110 yards in his first-ever game with the Vikings against Cleveland in the opener last season. Minnesota won both games, and Favre completed 14 passes in both.

  • KR Percy Harvin moved into second place in team history for most 50-plus-yard kickoff returns when he took a kick back 95 yards for a touchdown to open the third quarter Sunday. Harvin has four kick returns of 50-plus yards. David Palmer had five from 1994 to 2000.

  • RB Adrian Peterson reached the 5,000-yard rushing mark in his career Sunday in his 51st game. That is the fastest any Vikings running back has reached that figure and is tied for sixth in NFL history.

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