Minnesota Vikings: Player Watch, Thursday 17 Nov 11

LS Cullen Loeffler injured a rotator cuff and probably won’t practice until Thursday or Friday. He’s handled every special teams snap the team has had since he joined the team in 2004. DE Jared Allen is the emergency long-snapper, but coach Leslie Frazier said the team would sign a long-snapper if Loeffler can’t play.

K Ryan Longwell had made 10 consecutive field goals of 50 yards or longer and was one short of tying Tony Zendejas’ NFL record when he missed a 52-yarder at Green Bay on Monday night. Longwell had to attempt the 52-yarder after a false start by Fred Evans negated a 47-yarder.

CB Benny Sapp, 30, signed with the Vikings, who are short in the secondary with Antoine Winfield (clavicle) going on injured reserve and Chris Cook still exiled from the team as he battles a felony domestic assault charge. Sapp’s role in Sunday’s game against the Raiders has yet to be determined, but if he’s in good enough shape, he could play nickel back and back up starters Asher Allen and Cedric Griffin. Sapp, who played for the Vikings in 2008 and 2009, was traded to the Dolphins for WR Greg Camarillo last year.

FS Husain Abdullah has a concussion for the second time in four weeks. The last time, he passed the league-mandated third-party medical exam in time to return to the field the following week. This time, the Vikings are discussing the possibility of resting Abdullah even if he passes the test. If he can’t play, Tyrell Johnson or rookie Mistral Raymond could start. Johnson rotates with Jamarca Sanford at strong safety. Raymond is a promising player that theVikings expect to be a future starter.

CB Antoine Winfield (clavicle) was placed on injured reserve and was scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday. His departure left an already-depleted secondary with only four corners on the roster and participating in team activities. Chris Cook is on the roster, but is separated from the team as he deals with a felony domestic assault charge. Winfield’s injury resulted in the team signing Benny Sapp, who played for the team in 2008 and 2009, and was with the Dolphins until being released after Miami’s season-opening loss to the Patriots.

DE Jared Allen needs 3 ½ sacks to reach 100 for his career. He’s had a sack in a franchise-record 11 consecutive games and leads the NFL with 13 ½ sacks.

OLB Erin Henderson has a slight hamstring injury and is day to day. If he can’t play, Kenny Onatolu, a special teams player, probably would start. It also would force middle linebacker E.J. Henderson to play more in the nickel. E.J., Erin’s brother, was a regular in the nickel until Erin took over the bulk of the duties when E.J.’s left knee started giving him problems earlier this season.

P Chris Kluwe has a career franchise-record 170 punts inside the 20. That’s also the fourth-most by any NFL player since Kluwe joined the Vikings in 2005.

LB Kenny Onatolu, a special teams player, probably would start if OLB Erin Henderson, who has a slight hamstring injury and is day to day, can’t play, It also would force middle linebacker E.J. Henderson to play more in the nickel. E.J., Erin’s brother, was a regular in the nickel until Erin took over the bulk of the duties when E.J.’s left knee started giving him problems earlier this season.

RB Adrian Peterson could become the Vikings’ career rushing leader as early as Sunday if he has one of his vintage big games. At 26 and in just his fifth season, he needs 191 yards to pass Robert Smith’s total of 6,818.

RB Toby Gerhart had no touches in the loss at Green Bay. He had a season-high five carries against Carolina before the bye. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave also said before the Packers game that the team would make a point to get Gerhart more touches to keep him involved and provide some rest for Peterson.

QB Christian Ponder had his left hand stepped on at Green Bay. X-rays were negative. He’s sore, but it won’t affect his playing status.

RG Anthony Herrera (knee) is expected to miss his third consecutive game because of an injured lateral collateral ligament in his left knee. Joe Berger has played well overall in Herrera’s absence.

WR Michael Jenkins (knee) is on the injury report, but participated in Wednesday’s practice on a limited basis.