Vikes' Winfield could be game-time decision with neck injury

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- After watching the leader of his secondary not practice this week 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 the Arizona Cardinals.

That seems like a long shot at this point.

Winfield was listed as doubtful Friday. Frazier said the neck injury improved as the week went on, and Winfield would be evaluated Saturday before the Vikings made any decision on his status. If Winfield 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's one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the NFL and moves from outside to cover the slot receiver in nickel situations.

Winfield was unavailable for comment Friday.

If Winfield cannot play, Asher Allen likely would take most of his snaps at nickel back. Allen has played sparingly in two games this season because of an injured toe, but he deemed himself ready to go this week. Chris Cook would start in Winfield's place.

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

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.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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