Sapp a possible addition at corner

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 16, 2011 - 12:11 AM

The former Viking could return to the team to help bolster a depleted secondary.

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Benny Sapp

Photo: Adam M. Bettcher, Associated Press

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The Vikings spent Tuesday preparing to move forward without cornerback Antoine Winfield, who is scheduled to have season-ending surgery to repair a fractured clavicle Wednesday.

As Winfield was being placed on injured reserve, coach Leslie Frazier said the team was weighing its options between a veteran who would have a better chance of helping the team immediately and a younger player who could be groomed to possibly help out beyond this season.

If it's the former, the likely alternative is Benny Sapp, who was expected to visit Tuesday night. The 30-year-old former Viking, who was with the team in 2008 and 2009, has been out of work since being released by the Dolphins after an embarrassing prime-time performance against Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 1.

Winfield's injury happened during a tackle of tight end Jermichael Finley during the fourth quarter of Sunday night's 45-7 loss at Green Bay. After missing the previous four games because of a neck injury, the 34-year-old Winfield ends the season with a career-low five games played.

It also should signal more playing time for rookie cornerback Brandon Burton, a fifth-round draft pick. For now, Asher Allen and Cedric Griffin will start, while Marcus Sherels plays the nickel back position. Chris Cook still is being paid on the active roster, but is out of all team-related activities indefinitely as he faces a domestic assault charge.

Reggie Jones, a raw first-year player from Portland State, was added to the practice squad last week.

Injury update

Free safety Husain Abdullah suffered his second concussion in four weeks and will have to pass the league-mandated third-party medical exam to return. He suffered his first concussion in Week 6 at Chicago, but passed the test in time to start Week 7 against the Packers at the Metrodome.

Frazier said the team has talked about sitting Abdullah for a week, but wouldn't commit to doing that if he passes his concussion test this week.

"We're talking about what's going to be best for him going forward because there has been a repeated incident," Frazier said.

Linebacker Erin Henderson has a slight hamstring injury and is day-to-day, Frazier said.

Long-snapper Cullen Loeffler hurt one of his rotator cuffs and probably won't practice until Thursday or Friday. Although defensive end Jared Allen is the team's emergency long-snapper, Frazier said the team would sign a long-snapper if Loeffler can't play Sunday. Loeffler has handled every special team snap in 121 consecutive games since winning the job as a rookie free agent in 2004.

X-rays were negative on quarterback Christian Ponder's left hand, which was stepped on Sunday night. Frazier said other than a little soreness, Ponder will be fine.

'Our guys played hard'

After reviewing the film, Frazier said he didn't see a lack of effort from his players during Monday night's blowout.

"I really didn't," he said. "Our guys, they played hard, they just didn't play smart in crucial situations. The effort throughout the game, when you look at the tape, guys are fighting right to the end to try to make plays and running to the ball, tackling well enough, trying to get their blocks. Adrian [Peterson] is running hard. Percy [Harvin] is running hard. Visanthe [Shiancoe]. Guys are playing hard, but when you're playing a good team, you've almost got to be perfect. We by no means were perfect in that ballgame."

Etc.

• Sunday's game against the Raiders at the Metrodome will be televised locally, extending a streak of Vikings home sellouts that began at the start of the 1998 season, the team announced Tuesday.

• With seven weeks left in the season, the Vikings currently hold one of the top five picks in the draft. The Colts (0-10) hold the top pick, while the Vikings, Dolphins, Panthers and Rams are tied at 2-7. In the case of ties, draft positioning is based on strength of schedule.

• The 10 penalties Sunday were the most by the Vikings since they had 10 in Week 3 against Detroit. However, they did have nine against the Packers at home Oct. 23. Here are the combined penalty totals and penalty yardage for the Vikings and Packers during their season series this year: Vikings 19 for 171; Packers seven for 49.

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