Vikings lose Loeffler, Allen, Johnson to injuries against Falcons

It's never a good sign when a long-snapper is brought up in any conversation.

But that was the case for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, when regular long-snapper Cullen Loeffler left the game against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter with a lower back injury.

It forced Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen into the game to snap. Allen, for many years a backup long-snapper, took a few reps on the sideline before entering to execute a perfect snap on a punt during the second quarter. The added benefit of having Allen on punt coverage -- he ran down Eric Weems from behind to stop a 42-yard return.

Loeffler is questionable to return after limping off the sideline to the locker room. For Allen, it probably can't happen soon enough so he can focus on adding to his 13.5 sacks.

The Vikings' already-thin secondary is also short two starters against the Falcons, as cornerback Asher Allen (knee) and safety Tyrell Johnson (hamstring) left the game during the first half. Both were announced as questionable to return.

The Falcons also suffered a key injury when starting cornerback Brent Grimes left the game during the first quarter with a knee injury. Grimes, who entered the game as questionable because of his knee, pulled up while running across the field.

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