- Associated Press - Friday, October 7, 2011

EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - After watching the leader of his secondary miss the entire week of practice with a stiff neck, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is still holding out hope that Antoine Winfield will be able to play on Sunday against Arizona.

That seems like a long shot at this point.

Winfield was listed as doubtful on Friday. Frazier said the neck injury improved as the week went on and Winfield would be evaluated on Saturday before they made any decision on his status. If he continues to show progress, the Vikings could take the decision right up until game time.

“We’re holding out hope that there’s a chance between now and what happens Sunday at noon,” Frazier said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow when he wakes up, as well.”

Losing Winfield would be a big blow to a Vikings secondary that has struggled to create turnovers and make big plays during their 0-4 start. He is one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the league and moves from outside to cover the slot receiver in the team’s nickel situations.

Winfield was unavailable for comment on Friday.

If Winfield cannot play, Asher Allen would likely get the bulk of his snaps at nickelback. Allen has played sparingly in two games this season because of an injured toe. But he deemed himself ready to go this week.

“The toe was kind of messed up but I think the whole training staff and myself felt it was good to just rest it and get it back so I could get back on the field,” Allen said.

Even after running back Beanie Wells’ breakout game last week, the Cardinals will no doubt look to test the Vikings secondary with star receiver Larry Fitzgerald down the field. Chris Cook would start in Winfield’s place.

Punter Chris Kluwe is the only other Vikings player who has a chance of not playing this week. Kluwe strained his right hamstring against the Chiefs last week. He said earlier in the week that he expected to play through it, but the Vikings were still working out punters on Friday just in case.

“We have to make sure that if Chris is not where he needs to be that we have somebody in mind,” Frazier said.

Running back Adrian Peterson (ankle), linebacker E.J. Henderson (knee), center John Sullivan (ankle), safety Husain Abdullah (pelvis), left tackle Charlie Johnson (elbow), safety Jamarca Sanford (knee) and safety Tyrell Johnson (hip) all were listed as probable.


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