The Vikings were without three of their top four cornerbacks again Thursday, as they prepared for the possibility they’d head to Lambeau Field with a number of defensive backs in unfamiliar spots Sunday against the Packers.
Cornerback Mike Hughes missed his second day of practice this week because of the neck injury that has kept him out the past two games, while Holton Hill (who hasn’t played since Week 4 against the Texans) continued to sit out because of a foot injury. With Cameron Dantzler on the COVID-19 reserve list and former Lions cornerback Chris Jones still going through a series of coronavirus tests before he can start practicing, the Vikings could depend heavily on rookies Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand, as well as second-year man Kris Boyd (who has been limited this week by hamstring and back injuries) and Mark Fields (who was added from the practice squad this week).
Hughes likely won’t play Sunday, though a source familiar with the situation said the 2018 first-round pick’s injury won’t end his season. There was no exact timetable for Hughes’ return. His 2019 season ended with a cracked vertebra he sustained in Week 17, though coach Mike Zimmer has said Hughes’ current neck injury is not related to the one he had last year.
The Vikings saw Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at his best in Week 1, when the two-time NFL MVP threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns against a Vikings secondary full of cornerbacks in new positions. The forecast for Sunday’s game calls for strong winds that could make it difficult to throw, but the Vikings’ thin secondary could again be a concern against Rodgers.
Cook getting up to speed
Though running back Dalvin Cook was limited in practice for a second straight day Thursday because of the groin injury he sustained Oct. 11 in Seattle, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said he didn’t anticipate Cook would need a limited workload Sunday in Green Bay.
Kubiak said the decision would be largely up to running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu, but for his part, the coordinator said he hadn’t left the Vikings’ first two practices of the week with the belief Cook would be limited.
“Practice, to me, the past few days hasn’t indicated that that should be the case,” Kubiak said. “He’s worked his load and practiced well, but Kennedy knows him better than anybody, so we’ll see where it goes. How Dalvin goes we normally go, so obviously we’ve got to get him going and get him back to work.”
The Vikings kept Cook out of their game against the Falcons before the bye week, to give him two weeks to rest, and Cook said Wednesday he expected he’d be ready to play against the Packers after two weeks to rest the injury.
No fans for Nov. 8 game
The Vikings’ fourth home game of the season against Detroit will be played without paying customers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The team announced Thursday it won’t have fans at the stadium on Nov. 8, saying it would have updates on attendance policies for its final four home games of the year toward mid-November. The Vikings are home on Nov. 22 against Dallas, Nov. 29 against Carolina, Dec. 6 against Jacksonville and Dec. 20 against Chicago.
State health regulations still prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 250 people; the Vikings have admitted up to 250 staff and family members for their previous two home games, to test how they’d eventually handle things if they’re permitted to have fans at games later this season.