Asher Allen, Husain Abdullah to start

NEW ORLEANS -- I'll be hanging out in our Countdown Live chat room during Thursday night's game, but before and after, you'll see traditional posting here on the blog.

Along those lines, the Minnesota Vikings announced two lineup changes along with their game day inactive list. Asher Allen will start at right cornerback, ahead of Lito Sheppard, who I presume will play in the nickel. Meanwhile, Husain Abdullah will start at strong safety ahead of Tyrell Johnson.

The Allen decision wasn't too surprising, considering that Sheppard was playing with the third-team defense during last week's preseason finale. But if Abdullah saw any time this summer with the Vikings' first-team defense, I missed it. I'm guessing the decision is based on the matchup against New Orleans' pass-happy offense, but I'm not sure.

Abdullah likely will shift to cornerback in dime situations because the Vikings have only three true cornerbacks active. Cedric Griffin, who returned to practice this week as he continues recovering from knee surgery, was deactivated. The Vikings did not activate practice squad cornerback Marcus Sherels, as had been discussed.

Other notable deactivations included rookie tailback Toby Gerhart, meaning Adrian Peterson and Albert Young will carry the load Thursday night. Gerhart has been dealing with a knee injury.