The fact that the Vikings had only three healthy cornerbacks against the pass-happy New Orleans Saints was a major story line going into the game.

And it looked like it would be a major problem for the Vikings after Drew Brees connected on a 28-yard pass to Marques Colston on the first play of the game and then directed their offense downfield for a quick touchdown.

But the Vikings corners -- Antoine Winfield, Asher Allen and Lito Sheppard -- settled in and handled themselves fairly well. They obviously gave up some plays and were helped by a few drops by the Saints receivers. But the corners also accounted for five of the team six pass breakups and hung tough despite being shorthanded.

"I thought they did a very good job," coach Brad Childress said. "I thought they were exceptional. I think we can do some better things fundamentally and technique wise out there, but I thought they did a decent job out there."

It's unclear if the Vikings will have more help at corner for the Miami game. Childress said last week that he was "toying" with the idea of playing Cedric Griffin, who missed all of training camp while recovering from ACL surgery. Griffin had limited participation in practice and still might need more time to be game ready.

Rookie Chris Cook, who was expected to start at right corner, had surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee and probably needs more time. He didn't practice last week and Childress said they will re-evaluate him when the team returns to practice on Monday.

Given their injury situation, Winfield wasn't surprised the Saints called only three running plays in the first half.

"Like I told you guys earlier in the week, they read the papers just like everybody else," Winfield said. "They knew we have three corners and they were going to try and run us and tire us out."

The Vikings corner rotation was different than we anticipated. Allen started at right corner in place of Sheppard. We thought Allen would play in the slot as the nickel, but Winfield handled that role. Allen moved to Winfield's spot at left corner in nickel situations.
 
Winfield played nickel last season after injuring his foot.
 
"I love the nickel," he said. "That's where all the action is. I probably had 20 tackles." (Actually, he was credited with nine).
 
As for the play of the three corners overall?
 
"I think we held up pretty well," Winfield said. "We gave up a few plays, but we’ll go back and watch the film and try and correct those things. But overall I think we did pretty good."
 
 
 

  

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