Winfield back for Vikings, but Harvin out vs. Bengals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield returned from a foot injury Sunday, but rookie kick returner/wide receiver Percy Harvin was inactive for the Minnesota Vikings' game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Winfield missed the previous six games over seven weeks with a right foot injury. His return was a boost for a defense that lost starting linebacker E.J. Henderson to a broken leg last week against the Arizona Cardinals and has several other key injuries for a pivotal game against the Bengals (9-3).

The Vikings (10-2) also are playing without starting safety Tyrell Johnson, who's out with a concussion, and cornerback Karl Paymah (knee). Rookie Jamarca Sanford will start in Johnson's place, and rookie Jasper Brinkley will see plenty of action in the middle, where Henderson played.

The loss of Harvin on offense is perhaps the biggest for Minnesota. The first-round draft pick has emerged as one of the NFL's best kick returners, averaging 29.0 yards per return. He also has become quarterback Brett Favre's favorite target on third down and scored in five of the last six games.

Harvin has struggled all season with migraine headaches, but this is the first time he has missed a game because of them.

For the Bengals, starting free safety Chris Crocker was active after being listed as questionable Friday with an ankle injury.

Backup safety Kyries Hebert (knee) was down after being listed as questionable. For the second consecutive week, Pat Sims started at defensive tackle for Domata Peko, who is out with a knee injury.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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