Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Saints have injury issues at linebacker

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC Updated: September 8, 2010 - 11:31 AM

We have spent the week writing about the fact the Vikings are shorthanded at cornerback and wondering how they are going to handle that situation. The Vikings, though, aren't the only team entering Thursday night's regular-season opener with some question marks on defense.

The Saints have yet to announce who will start at strong-side linebacker and it sounds as if it could be veteran Danny Clark, who signed this week after being let go by the New York Giants. Clark spent time with the Saints in 2006 as a backup but has starting  experience. Here is a good breakdown on what the Saints have been going through.

The issue is that New Orleans has been unable to stay healthy at this position. The Saints signed former Jacksonville Jaguar Clint Ingram but he ended up on the physically unable to perform list because of a knee issue. Next up was Jonathan Casillas, who impressed enough that he played the weak-side spot and Scott Shanle went to the strong side.

That set up a trio of Casillas, Jonathan Vilma and Shanle. In the Saints' preseason finale, Casillas suffered a season-ending foot injury. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams could go with Jo-Lonn Dunbar at the strong-side linebacker but Clark also appears to be in the mix

Vilma, the starting middle linebacker, was limited in practice Monday and Tuesday because of a groin injury.

Linebacker isn't the only position at which the Saints have possible concerns on defense. Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove did not practice Tuesday because of a knee injury. What was surprising is that Hargrove was not listed on the report on Monday.

There also is some question about cornerback Tracy Porter who has been limited this week by a knee injury.

 

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