Safety Smith Seems Unlikely to Play

Dwight Smith (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)

Safety Dwight Smith has missed three day of practice to work on mending his sore hamstring, which likely means he won't be starting Sunday in Dallas.

The Vikings could be without free safety Dwight Smith for Sunday's game in Dallas.

Smith has played the past three games on a sore hamstring that he injured in Week 2 at Detroit. It was believed the Vikings' off week would help Smith but he continued to be limited in practice after the team returned from its bye on Oct. 7.

He finally was held out of practice Thursday and Friday and coach Brad Childress made no promises.

Childress said that during Thursday's practice the Vikings rotated veteran safeties Mike Doss and Tank Williams. Williams was the primary replacement on Sept. 16 when Smith had to leave the game against the Lions.

The Vikings might have become convinced that resting Smith was the best move after he appeared to be slowed on two late touchdowns last Sunday at Chicago. The touchdowns enabled the Bears to tie the score at 31. A last-second field goal by Ryan Longwell gave the Vikings the victory.

On the first Bears score, receiver Muhsin Muhammad caught a pass over the middle and then turned upfield as Smith failed to make a tackle. Shortly thereafter, speedy receiver Devin Hester got past Smith on an 81-yard touchdown catch from Brian Griese.

Smith said the hamstring did not play a role in him getting beat but he clearly was not able to go at full speed on either play.

NOTES

  • FB Naufahu Tahi, a contributor on special teams, did not practice because of an MCL sprain and isn't expected to play Sunday.

  • RB Mewelde Moore likely will be active for the first time since Week 3 and serve as the backup to Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson. Moore also will assume some of Naufahu Tahi's duties on special teams.

  • LB Vinny Ciurciu did not practice because of a high ankle sprain and almost certainly will miss Sunday's game. Ciurciu does not see time at linebacker but plays on all the special teams.

  • DE Erasmus James was limited in practice because of a shoulder injury. It's unclear if that will affect James' status for Sunday's game.

  • CB Antoine Winfield does not expect to be regularly matched up on Cowboys WR Terrell Owens on Sunday. Winfield spent most of the Vikings' loss to Green Bay in Week 4 covering Packers' No. 1 receiver Donald Driver. Winfield requested that assignment; he said he did not request Owens this time around. "Really, he's not their No. 1 receiver," Winfield said. "(Tight end) Jason Witten is. He has all the catches and most of the touchdowns." Witten leads the Cowboys with 32 receptions, which is five more than Owens. Witten and Owens both have four touchdown catches.

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