Running back Toby Gerhart did not play in the Vikings' regular-season opener on Sept. 9 because of a knee injury. But the second-round pick from Stanford is ready to go and will play in the Vikings' home opener today against the Miami Dolphins.
With Gerhart playing, the Vikings have made running back Albert Young one of their inactives. Young is probably the best running back the Vikings have in terms of pass protection so the move is an interesting one.
It comes as no surprise that wide receiver Percy Harvin (bruised hip) will play. Harvin did some work this morning in front of athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and was cleared to play.
Also inactive for the Vikings are cornerbacks Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin, who are both trying to return from knee injuries. Once again, Asher Allen will start at right cornerback and the Vikings will have only three corners active for the second game in a row.
If the Vikings stick with what they did against the Saints, Allen will move to left corner when the Vikings go to their nickel defense. Antoine Winfield will move from left corner to the inside and Lito Sheppard will come off the bench to play right corner.
The only injured player on the Vikings inactive list is defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who returned to practice last week after injuring his knee in the second preseason game against San Francisco. Kennedy likely needs another week of conditioning.
Gerhart will become the first of the Vikings' 2010 draft picks to play in a regular-season game this year. Inactive again this week are quarterback Joe Webb; offensive guard Chris DeGeare, tight end Mickey Shuler; and defensive end Everson Griffen. All were picked this past April and all also sat against the Saints.
The Dolphins inactives are quarterback Chad Pennington; wide receiver Roberto Wallace; cornerback Nolan Carroll; linebacker Channing Crowder; defensive end Robert Rose; defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis; offensive lineman Jermey Parnell; offensive tackle Lydon Murtha; and defensive end Jared Odrick.
Odrick (leg) and Crowder (groin) did not practice last week and were declared out on Friday. Alama-Francis missed practice time because of an illness.
The Dolphins also have made a starting lineup change. Paul Soliai will start at nose tackle and Randy Starks will move to right end to replace Odrick.