The Vikings could be facing the Green Bay Packers
on Sunday at Lambeau Field without two starters.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield
missed Minnesota's 27-17 loss at Pittsburgh last week because of an injury to his right foot, and although he is holding out hope he can play against the Packers, that is far from a given.
The status of wide receiver Bernard Berrian
also is up in the air after he suffered what appeared to be an injury to his left hamstring against the Steelers. Berrian did not play in the second half.
The Vikings — like many NFL teams — are very secretive about their injuries, and coach Brad Childress would only say that Berrian was getting treatment on Monday.
Berrian also dealt with a hamstring injury in the preseason, but in that case it was his right hamstring. He suffered that injury in the preseason opener at Indianapolis and missed the final three games of the exhibition schedule.
Berrian is second on the Vikings with 24 receptions for 252 yards with two touchdowns this season. Veteran Greg Lewis
got additional snaps against the Steelers with Berrian on the sideline for the final 30 minutes.
As for Winfield's status, he disputed reports that he could miss four to six weeks because of his injury. "It feels a lot better," Winfield said. "I was on crutches (until Friday). Now I'm in the boot. I'm walking on it and not feeling any pain, so my goal is to get back out here and play against the Packers."
With Winfield out against the Steelers, the Vikings devised a game plan that utilized backup corner Karl Paymah
, nickel back Benny Sapp
and rookie Asher Allen
. It was the first time Allen had appeared in a game this season.
The three played well and helped hold Ben Roethlisberger
and the NFL's second-ranked passing offense to 175 yards.
They also saw plenty of snaps because the Steelers utilize so many multiple receiver packages that the Vikings spent much of the game in their nickel defense with Cedric Griffin
playing the other corner and Paymah or Sapp at left corner. Sapp or Allen also often shifted inside into the nickel.
The Vikings likely will use a similar plan against the Packers if Winfield is held out until after the bye week, which will fall following the Green Bay game.
QB Brett Favre threw 50 passes in a game for the first time since December 2006 in the Vikings' 27-17 loss to the Steelers on Sunday. Favre was stripped of the ball on one fourth-quarter drive and had a ball tipped by RB Chester Taylor into the hands of Steelers LB Keyaron Fox on another. Both turnovers were returned by the Steelers defense for touchdowns. Favre now has three interceptions on the season and also has his first loss as the Vikings quarterback. His 76.8 passer rating was a season low.
RB Adrian Peterson was held to fewer than 100 yards rushing for the fifth time this season, as he gained 69 yards on 18 attempts with a touchdown against Pittsburgh. The biggest surprise was that Peterson did not get more carries, with Favre throwing 50 passes. In the third quarter, the Vikings had the ball at the Steelers 1-yard line with a first down but gave it to Peterson only once before throwing on second and third down and then kicking a field goal.
RB Chester Taylor had three rushing attempts for 14 yards against the Steelers, his second-lowest number of carries in a game this season. Taylor had only two rushes for 8 yards on Oct. 5 against Green Bay. Taylor also caught a pass for 7 yards, but it was the ball he tipped into the hands of Steelers LB Keyaron Fox that will be the play that many remember from this game. Fox went 82 yards for the clinching touchdown.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe didn't have one of his best games, committing two penalties and also dropping a pass in Pittsburgh. He did catch four passes for 27 yards and now has 21 receptions for 191 yards and five touchdowns this season.
WR Bernard Berrian missed the second half against Pittsburgh because of what appeared to be a left hamstring injury. Berrian is second on the Vikings with 24 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns this season. He already battled a problem with his right hamstring in training camp that cost him the final three exhibition games.
WR Percy Harvin continues to play despite a left shoulder injury that seems to get aggravated on a weekly basis. Harvin was targeted on 10 passes against Pittsburgh and caught three of them for 42 yards. He also returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, making him the first player in Vikings history to have two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season.
WR Sidney Rice continues to impress on a weekly basis. Rice had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career in Week 6 against Baltimore when he caught six passes for 176 yards. Against the Steelers, he caught 10 passes for 136 yards and had a potential touchdown catch wiped out on a questionable tripping penalty on FB Jeff Dugan.
SS Tyrell Johnson continues to learn on the job and has been hit-and-miss at times. Johnson had a pass breakup and three tackles against the Steelers but needs to become more consistent in his tackling.
LB Ben Leber continues to be the odd man out when the Vikings go to their nickel package and bring in a fifth defensive back. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has said he would like to keep Leber on the field more often but so far he has not found a way to accomplish that.
NT Pat Williams tied his season high with six tackles and had one for a loss and a forced fumble in what was his best all-around performance of the season. The fact the Vikings are keeping a close eye on Williams' snaps might be paying off.
The Vikings could be facing the Packers without two veteran starters on their perimeter, Bernard Berrian on offense and Antoine Winfield on defense. Their injuries will be evaluated all week.
The Vikings could be facing the Packers without two veteran starters on their perimeter.