Minnesota Vikings: Player Watch 20 Oct 11

K Ryan Longwell has missed field goal attempts in consecutive games for the first time since his first two games with the Vikings back in 2006. He missed a 43-yarder against the Cardinals two weeks ago and a 38-yarder last week in Chicago.

QB Donovan McNabb, benched after the Vikings got off to a 1-5 start, said he would support rookie first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, the new starter.

C John Sullivan (concussion) didn’t practice. His backup, Joe Berger, has 19 career NFL starts.

SS Tyrell Johnson, the guy who nearly beat out Jamarca Sanford in training camp, could replace him Sunday. Sanford (concussion) didn’t practice.

CB Antoine Winfield (neck) was limited in practice. It was the first time he’s practiced since injuring the neck against the Chiefs on Oct. 2.

OLB Erin Henderson has averaged 10 tackles a game since taking over more of the middle linebacker duties in the nickel defense. He’s got the speed to play that role in the nickel, and his instincts are getting better.

SS Jamarca Sanford (concussion) didn’t practice. He would be replaced by Tyrell Johnson, the guy who nearly beat him out in training camp.

LB Kenny Onatolu (hamstring) was limited in practice, but is expected to play.

RB Adrian Peterson has 807 yards rushing, a 4.9-yard average per carry and five touchdowns in eight games against the Packers, He holds the team record for most rushing yards against the Packers in a game (192 in 2008) and is closing in on Bill Brown’s career mark of 862.

RB Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with seven touchdowns. Only one of them — a 4-yard run against the Bears — has come in the second half. Teams have pretty much found a way to lock Peterson down by the start of the second half.

WR Percy Harvin (ribs) missed practice, but tends to always be healthy come game day.

QB Christian Ponder was named the starter because he “gives us the best chance to win on Sunday,” coach Leslie Frazier said.

RT Phil Loadholt (knee) didn’t practice, putting the Vikings in the worrisome spot of getting young, inexperienced Pat Brown ready to play against Clay Matthews.

PR Marcus Sherels called for two fair catches inside his own 10-yard line. One catch at the 5 led to the Vikings’ offense getting dropped for a safety. Coach Leslie Frazier said the punt returners are taught to let the ball go over their heads if it’s inside the 8.

LB E.J. Henderson (knee) was limited in practice, but will play Sunday.

LG Steve Hutchinson (knee) was on the injury report, but had full participation in practice.

WR Michael Jenkins developed a chemistry with Donovan McNabb, but there weren’t many big plays. He’s averaging 9.2 yards on 24 catches. The most he’s averaged per catch in one game is 11.3 in the Bears loss.