Antoine Winfield (26) sacked Houston's Matt Schaub (8)
Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune
Winfield expects to play despite broken hand
- Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD and CHRIS MILLER
- Star Tribune staff writers
- December 24, 2012 - 11:09 PM
Antoine Winfield has a broken hand but should be able to play against Green Bay.
The veteran cornerback suffered the injury Sunday in the Vikings' 23-6 victory at Houston, but he finished the game. Coach Leslie Frazier said Winfield can play Sunday against the Packers wearing a soft cast on the hand. Frazier did not say which hand was affected.
Defensive end Brian Robison, who missed Sunday's game because of a sprained right shoulder, also is expected to be available this week.
"We'll have to take it day-to-day with him," Frazier said, "just to see what he's able to do when he gets back to practice Wednesday.
"We weren't sure if he'd be able to go out and protect himself [vs. Houston]. He needs to be able to tackle someone or, if someone is pushing up against him, he can protect himself. If he can do that, then he'll be ready to go."
Adrian Peterson, who needs 208 yards to break the NFL single-season rushing record, is still experiencing soreness with his abdominal issue and could be limited in practice this week.Schedule almost set
The Vikings' final two opponents for 2013 will be set following Sunday's game. They will play each team in the NFC East and AFC North.
The Vikings' home games will be against Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland, the NFC South team that finishes in the same position as the Vikings (currently New Orleans), Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago. The Sept. 29 game in London against Pittsburgh also counts as a home game.
Road games will be at Dallas, the New York Giants, Baltimore, Cincinnati, the NFC West team that finishes in the same position as the Vikings (currently Seattle), Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago.Longwell logs in
Former Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell broke his Twitter silence Sunday afternoon to laud his replacement, Blair Walsh. Longwell, who was bothered by never making the Pro Bowl, clearly thinks Walsh should be the NFC Pro Bowl kicker despite being a rookie.
Longwell's series of tweets (@4thandLongwell) read: "I've purposely not commented on any football stuff this entire year so let me make my first one now. I've seen many great seasons go unrewarded by not getting voted to Pro Bowl. But if @BlairWalsh3 does not get voted in this year it will prove system is broke! What more can the guy do?? Accuracy, 9-9 50+ yarders, Kickoff touchbacks and a game winner in his first career game!!"
Walsh is third in the NFC with 128 points, second in field-goal percentage (behind Dallas' Dan Bailey) and set an NFL record Sunday with his ninth field goal of 50 yards or more in a single season.Stepping up
For the first nine games, rookie receiver Jarius Wright was inactive. In the past six games, he has caught 19 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown.
He had five catches against the Texans, and three of those plays resulted in Vikings first downs.
"He's just taken off as he's gotten more confident with what he's doing and what we're asking him to do," Frazier said of the fourth-round pick from Arkansas. "The game he had yesterday was a big-time game. He ran good routes, got yards after the catch for us. He's a young guy we have high hopes for."Quick rematch?
If the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday, the teams will likely meet in the first round of the playoffs as well.
A Vikings victory would make them the No. 6 seed in the playoffs at 10-6. The Packers would be 11-5. If San Francisco beats Arizona, the 49ers would be 11-5-1 and claim the No. 2 seed. The Packers, at No. 3, would play host to the Vikings. The No. 4 seed would be the NFC East champion, which would play host to the wild-card Seahawks.
If the Packers and San Francisco both lose and Seattle beats St. Louis, the Seahawks would win the NFC West and be the No. 2 seed at 11-5. They have a tiebreaker over Green Bay after the infamous "Fail Mary" victory. In that scenario, the Packers would be No. 3 and play host to the Vikings.
If the Vikings win, the only way they could avoid a first-round game at Lambeau Field would be if San Francisco and Seattle both lose. That would mean the Packers get the No. 2 seed and a bye, and the Vikings would play at San Francisco.
If the Vikings back into the playoffs by losing -- which would mean Dallas, Chicago and the New York Giants also lose -- they would be the No. 6 seed and play at San Francisco or Seattle.
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