Minnesota Vikings: Player Watch – Thursday 15 Dec 11

QB/WR Joe Webb won’t start at quarterback this week as coach Leslie Frazier made it clear he will stick with Christian Pondeer. But Webb’s multi-talented skill should soon lead to more time on the field somewhere, receivers coach George Stewart said.

S Jarrad Page has a hip injury and was limited in practice on Wednesday. Page, who was signed two weeks ago, is important because he’s a veteran backup to rookie FS Mistral Raymond. Raymond has had to leave two games this season because of cramps.

CB Benny Sapp, who was out of work a month ago, probably will start in place of Cedric Griffin this week. Griffin is expected to lose his starting job after getting benched in the first quarter of last week’s loss at Detroit. The question is whether the Vikings would then trust Griffin to play in the nickel, or just do what they did last week and use PR Marcus Sherels at the nickel and sit Griffin altogether. Coach Leslie Frazier said the team will evaluate Griffin during the week. Griffin has struggled all year in trying to return to form after tearing the ACL in each knee the past two years. When his poor fundamentals allowed Titus Young a clean release off the line of scrimmage en route to an easy 57-yard touchdown last week, coach Leslie Frazier had finally seen enough.

 

DE Jared Allen is coming off his second three-sack game of the season. He has a career-high 17 1/2 sacks on the season and 100 1/2 for his career. The only player to have more sacks through the first eight years of his career was Hall of Famer Reggie White, who had 124.

WR Greg Camarillo missed Wednesday’s practice because of a concussion. If he can’t play, the Vikings might have to promote rookie Kerry Taylor from their practice squad. If the Vikings didn’t add a body to the active roster, they’d have only three full-time receivers: Percy Harvin, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Devin Aromashodu. They also have Joe Webb, a backup quarterback that can play receiver.

RB Adrian Peterson, who has missed the past three games because of a high left ankle sprain, continues to make progress and might return on Sunday. He was limited in practice on Wednesday. It’s the first time he’s practiced on Wednesday since sustainining the injury.

CB Asher Allen started the year as the dime back. Today, he’s the best corner they have on the active roster that’s playing. In last week’s loss to the Lions, he tied a career-high with two passes defensed. So he’s far from elite, but he works hard and at least competes with receivers.

WR Percy Harvin has five touchdown catches, all of which have come during the seven games that rookie Christian Ponder has started at quarterback. Harvin ranks eighth in the NFL with 69 atches.

OG Butch Lewis was released from Minnesota’s practice squad.

NT Christian Ballard, a rookie fourth-round draft pick, got his second start of the season last Sunday. The Vikings have started him when they’re trying to get more of a pass rush on the field early in the game. His other start came against the Packers. Ballard has the ability and body-type to play nose tackle, under tackle or left end. He could be the starting nose tackle next season because the team is not impressed with free agent acquisition Remi Ayodele. Ayodele did, however, have half a sack against the Lions last week. He has 1 1/2 on the season.

LB E.J. Henderson is still dealing with a shoulder injury. He was limited in Wednesday’s practice, but will play on Sunday.

TE Kyle Rudolph has played in 12 of the team’s 13 games. Last week was the fourth time he didn’t catch a pass in a game in which he played. He’s also had two games with one reception. He’s too talented and too big a part of the future to not be thrown to more than he is.

CB Cedric Griffin is expected to lose his starting job after getting benched in the first quarter of last week’s loss at Detroit. Benny Sapp, who was out of work a month ago, probably will start. The question is whether the Vikings would then trust Griffin to play in the nickel, or just do what they did last week and use PR Marcus Sherels at the nickel and sit Griffin altogether. Coach Leslie Frazier said the team will evaluate Griffin during the week. Griffin has struggled all year in trying to return to form after tearing the ACL in each knee the past two years. When his poor fundamentals allowed Titus Young a clean release off the line of scrimmage en route to an easy 57-yard touchdown last week, coach Leslie Frazier had finally seen enough.