How much worse can it get for the Vikings’ defense? We may be about to find out. On Sunday the already-brutal secondary will have to line up without two of its starters, Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford. Both players have been ruled out for the Dallas game with injuries according to Leslie Frazier.
Sanford has been battling a groin injury for several weeks now and had to be removed from the Green Bay game after trying to make a go of it. Cook suffered a hip strain late in that game, possibly on the play where he was totally burned attempting to tackle Myles White, and missed the whole fourth quarter.
With Sanford now sitting alongside Harrison Smith on the bench, the Vikes will send Mistral Raymond and Andrew Sendejo onto the field as their starting safeties. The Vikes have only one other healthy safety on the roster – that would be Robert Blanton – which is cutting it way too close depth-wise. Leslie Frazier said on Thursday that he would like to add another safety before the game, and I’m guessing that means Brandan Bishop will shortly be promoted from the practice squad.
The Vikings’ cornerback situation, already a mess, only gets more complicated with the loss of Cook. Marcus Sherels saw time at right corner against Pittsburgh with Cook out and that may be the way the Vikings go again this week, or they might use A.J. Jefferson on that side. Shifting Xavier Rhodes over to the right is likely out of the question given Alan Williams’ insistence on working Rhodes exclusively on the left side.
Any way you slice it, the Vikings are in big trouble on the back end of their defense. Dallas has a good quarterback in Tony Romo and a great receiving weapon in Dez Bryant. The Vikings will most likely default back to their Cover-2 shell scheme and try to limit the deep passing game, so we can look forward to another short-pass shred-fest.
Our only hope is if Tony Romo gets impatient and tries to force a few balls, leading to interceptions. Assuming the Vikings can actually hold onto the interceptions.