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.
The Vikings’ inactive list has just been released at the Georgia Dome with several key players out.
Not surprisingly, running back Adrian Peterson (ankle), safety Husain Abdullah (concussion) and guard Anthony Herrera (knee) will sit out today. Peterson suffered a high ankle sprain in last week’s home loss to Oakland. Abdullah had his bell rung in Week 10 at Green Bay. And Herrera hasn’t played since Week 7, still working back from a lateral collateral ligament injury in his left knee.
Joining that trio on the inactive list today are tight end Kyle Rudolph, offensive tackle DeMarcus Love, defensive end D’Aundre Reed and cornerback Chris Cook.
Toby Gerhart will start in place of Peterson. Tyrell Johnson will fill in for Abdullah. And Joe Berger will once again assume Herrera’s role at right guard.
We'll have more extensive coverage of Benny Sapp’s excited return to the Twin Cities later this evening and into tomorrow morning. For now, suffice it to say Sapp is more than a little thrilled to be back playing football again. He was last seen in NFL in Week 1 as a Miami Dolphin, torched by Tom Brady and the Patriots in a 38-24 loss that saw Brady pass for 517 yards and four TDs.
The inactive list has just been released at Mall of America Field and as was expected Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, safety Jamarca Sanford and center John Sullivan will not play today against the Packers. All three players are dealing with injuries. Meanwhile, cornerback Chris Cook remains in jail after his Saturday morning arrest on domestic assault charges. That leaves the Vikings to take on undefeated Green Bay without four key starters.
Furthermore, for the second time in three weeks, receiver Bernard Berrian is also inactive.
Winfield is inactive for the third straight week. He injured his neck in the Vikings' Oct. 2 loss in Kansas City and is sitll being labeled as day-to-day by head coach Leslie Frazier. Sanford and Sullivan, meanwhile, each suffered concussions in last Sunday's 39-10 loss in Chicago and will be held out this afternoon as a result. Joe Berger will start in Sullivan's place.
In the secondary, with Winfield and Cook both out, the Vikings will have Asher Allen starting opposite Cedric Griffin. Tyrell Johnson will replace Sanford and join Husain Abdullah at safety. The Vikings will also have to lean heavily on Marcus Sherels and Brandon Burton as they try to slow Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' prolific passing attack.
Berrian's status on the inactive list registers as somewhat surprising but not all that much. He was held out of the Vikings' Week 5 win over Arizona for disciplinary reasons. But last week in Chicago he returned to action with his best game of 2011, catching five passes for 54 yards. Now? He's back in street clothes on game day.
Other Vikings inactives are tackle DeMarcus Love and defensive end D'Aundre Reed.
Inactives for the Packers are: corner Sam Shields, left tackle Chad Clifton, defensive end Mike Neal, guard Ray Dominguez and linebackers Frank Zombo, Jamari Lattimore and Robert Francis.
Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was arrested on two domestic assault charges and booked into the Hennepin County Jail early Saturday morning. Cook is being held without bail and will not appear in court until Monday morning, meaning he will almost certainly miss Sunday's game with the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field.
The Vikings released a statement this morning: "The Minnesota Vikings are aware of the incident involving Chris Cook. We take this matter very seriously and are still gathering all the details of the incident. We will not have any further comment at this time."
Hennepin County jail records indicate Cook was arrested by Eden Prairie Police, booked at 4:06 a.m. and is being held without bail until his court appearance Monday at 8:15 a.m. The 24-year-old Cook is still in custody. And records show a description of one charge as "DOMESTIC ASSAULT-MISDEMEANOR-INTENTIONALLY INFLICTS/ATTEMPTS TO INFLICT BODILY HARM ON ANOTHER."
According to authorities, Eden Prairie Police responded to a call at 1:42 a.m. with reports of yelling and screaming and arrested Cook around 2:10 a.m.
In March, Cook was accused of pulling a gun on a neighbor during a verbal altercation while near his mother's home in Lynchburg, Va.
"It's just crazy," Cook said after that incident. "I just have to deal with it the best way I can. I wish it didn't happen. I wish I would have never got in an argument, but that's what happened."
Two months later, he was found not guilty when a judge determined there was insufficient evidence to confirm the accusation.
"It definitely will make me smarter about how I react to other people and what they say to me or what they try and do to me," Cook said then. "It just makes me more cautious about what I say or how I react to other people."
The Star Tribune continues to gather details on Cook's most recent arrest. A voice message has been left with Cook's agent.
News of Cook's transgression is troubling on multiple levels. As it relates to the Vikings' Sunday game with the Packers, it's yet another blow to the team's depleted secondary. Cornerback Antoine Winfield and safety Jamarca Sanford are already listed as doubtful with injuries. Add in Cook's likely absence and the Vikings will be left to face Green Bay's lethal passing attack with a starting secondary of corners Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen and safeties Husain Abdullah and Tyrell Johnson. Marcus Sherels would be the third cornerback. And rookie safety Mistral Raymond will likely be active for the first time this season as well.
(UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: Cook has officially been ruled out for Sunday' s game, according to team spokesman Bob Hagan. An Eden Prairie Police spokesperson also has confirmed that Cook is being held on probable cause for domestic assault/strangulation, a felony-level offense. He also faces a charge of fifth-degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor.)
Half of the Vikings' starting defensive backs are listed as doubtful heading into Sunday's game against the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who leads the NFL in passer rating (122.5), completion percentage (70.2), yards per attempt (9.76) and touchdowns (17).
Cornerback Antoine Winfield (neck) was limited again in practice but looks like he'll miss his third consecutive game. Meanwhile, strong safety Jamarca Sanford also is doubtful because he has yet to complete the third-party concussion exam that mandatory per NFL rules.
That's not a good way to go into a game against the Packers. Rodgers' 17 touchdowns have gone to six different players and averaged 30.8 yards per score.
"They do a lot of four- and five-wideout sets, more than most teams," coach Leslie Fraizer said. "You like to have all hands on deck, but the guys who are going to play are going to be ready to go. They're going to have to step up and play big for us."
Other highlights from today:
|Vikings (3759)||People (1)|
|AFC (91)||Bears (466)|
|Ex-Vikings (48)||Football on TV (53)|
|Lions (357)||NFC (1378)|
|NFL draft (264)||NFL post-season (28)|
|Packers (511)||Super Bowl (270)|
|Vikings coaches (83)||Vikings defense (259)|
|Vikings fans (118)||Vikings injury report (291)|
|Vikings management (31)||Vikings off the field (282)|
|Vikings offense (367)||Vikings quarterbacks (258)|
|Vikings road games (77)||Vikings rookies (36)|
|Vikings roster moves (40)||Vikings special teams (37)|
|Vikings training camp (132)||Injury report (344)|
|Off the field (141)||On the road (83)|
|Quarterbacks (338)||Rookies (77)|
|Roster moves (17)||Vikings draft (267)|
|Vikings trade talk (2)||Vikings players (808)|
|Adrian Peterson (972)||Anthony Herrera (161)|
|Antoine Winfield (412)||Ben Leber (97)|
|Bernard Berrian (213)||Bobby Wade (16)|
|Brad Childress (641)||Brett Favre (810)|
|Brian Robison (171)||Bryant McKinnie (107)|
|Cedric Griffin (194)||Chad Greenway (209)|
|Chester Taylor (79)||Chris Kluwe (118)|
|Darrell Bevell (120)||E.J. Henderson (183)|
|Heath Farwell (50)||Jared Allen (416)|
|John Sullivan (207)||Kevin Williams (233)|
|Leslie Frazier (937)||Madieu Williams (78)|
|Pat Williams (154)||Percy Harvin (679)|
|Phil Loadholt (165)||Ray Edwards (173)|
|Ryan Longwell (145)||Sage Rosenfels (102)|
|Sidney Rice (273)||Steve Hutchinson (191)|
|Tarvaris Jackson (172)||Tyrell Johnson (151)|
|Visanthe Shiancoe (216)||Brad Childress (645)|
|Darrell Bevell (121)||Leslie Frazier (946)|