A week ago, coach Brad Childress said Marcus McCauley
's job in the Vikings' nickel defense was safe.
It turns out Childress wasn't exactly being forthcoming.
McCauley, a rookie, was replaced last Sunday in the nickel package by second-year cornerback Charles Gordon
. It appears Gordon will hang onto the job for this Sunday's game against San Diego.
While McCauley would play the left corner when he entered the game and veteran Antoine Winfield
would slide inside, Gordon played against the slot receiver in the Vikings' loss to Philadelphia.
Childress said Gordon "didn't do too badly."
"He made some subtle decisions in there off of some of the play-action and pulling his trigger in there and doing some decent things in there as a nickel player," Childress said.
NOTES The Vikings beat the Chargers 35-27 on Nov. 28, 1999, the last time these teams played at the Metrodome. WR Cris Carter had a big game for the Vikings, catching 11 passes for 136 yards with two touchdowns in the victory. That performance earned him NFC Player of the Week honors.
Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper completed 32 of 44 passes for 370 yards with four touchdowns in a 42-28 loss to the host Chargers in the last meeting between these teams on Nov. 9, 2003. RB Moe Williams and WR Randy Moss both had 11 receptions and accounted for three touchdowns between them.
Minnesota and San Diego met for the first time on Dec. 5, 1971, with the host Chargers cruising to a 30-14 victory. That was one of only three regular-season losses by the Vikings that year.
LB Ben Leber was a third-round pick of the Chargers in 2002 and played four seasons in San Diego before signing as a free agent with the Vikings in 2006.
Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy was a second-round pick of San Diego in the 1991 NFL Draft and played four seasons with the Chargers. He was a member of San Diego's 1994 AFC championship team that lost to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIX.
The Vikings and Chargers made a high-profile trade in 1978, when Minnesota sent Pro Bowl G Ed White to San Diego for RB Rickey Young. White played with the Chargers until 1985, when he retired after 17 seasons. He has been inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame. Young, meanwhile, played with the Vikings through 1983. Young scored the first regular-season touchdown in the Metrodome in the Vikings' 17-10 victory over Tampa Bay on Sept. 12, 1982.
Vikings S Dwight Smith and Chargers TE Antonio Gates were teammates in football and basketball at Detroit Central High School.
QB Tarvaris Jackson is expected to start Sunday against San Diego after missing a game because of a broken index finger on his right (throwing) hand. Jackson was limited in practice Wednesday.
QB Kelly Holcomb did not practice Wednesday and will miss at least two weeks because of a neck injury suffered last Sunday.
WR Bobby Wade did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury, and his availability for Sunday's game appears to be in question.
DE Brian Robison sat out Wednesday because of an illness.
WR Troy Williamson was not with the team Wednesday because of a death in the family.
CB Antoine Winfield was limited Wednesday in practice because of a hamstring injury.
RT Ryan Cook was limited in practice Wednesday because of a shoulder injury but is expected to play against the Chargers.
LB Vinny Ciurciu was limited in practice Wednesday because of a high ankle sprain. He has missed the past two games.
S Dwight Smith was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury that has kept him out the past two games.
DE Erasmus James was limited in practice Wednesday because of a shoulder injury. James has played in only one game this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4-13 — The Vikings' record since getting off to a 4-2 start last year in Brad Childress' first season as head coach.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our work is cut out for us, we know that. We're on the ropes right now. We have to fight back. We're a fighting unit, we're a fighting team. We just have to keep playing." — LB Chad Greenway on the fact the Vikings are sitting at 2-5 and in last place in the NFC North entering Sunday's game against San Diego.
The Vikings said Marcus McCauley's role as cornerback in the nickel defense was safe, but on Sunday he was replaced by Charles Gordon.
The Vikings said CB's role in the nickel defense was safe, but it wasn't.