EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- When the Minnesota Vikings announced their 53-man roster, and then stood pat with it over the next 48 hours, you had to figure they knew something we don't. How else could they plan to play the New Orleans Saints' dynamic offense with only three healthy cornerbacks?
As you know, the nickel defense is expected to include Antoine Winfield, Lito Sheppard and Asher Allen. The chances of signing a cornerback who could help Thursday night are remote. So based on what I can tell, here are the two possibilities for emergency cornerback depth against a team that uses its share of four-receiver sets:
Yes, you read that list correctly. Abdullah is a reserve safety/special teams player known mostly for his ability to get through training camp while fasting in accordance with Ramadan. Griffin, meanwhile, was activated Saturday from the physically unable to perform list and is less than eight months removed from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the NFC Championship Game.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier called Abdullah a "possibility" and added: "There's different combinations that we can use and we've been exploring all of those possibilities." That brought me to the next question: The Vikings couldn't possibly be considering playing Griffin after three days of practice, could they?
"You know, the fact that he's out here practicing gives us some hope," Frazier said. "We're just trying to ascertain over the next couple days if it is a real possibility. So we're going to give it another day and see how he does tomorrow. But he has already done far more than we expected when we put him on the 53."
Frazier generally isn't one to enter into the world of competitive subterfuge, so I walked away believing that he has an open mind on Griffin's availability. Still, it would be a tremendous upset for Griffin to be back on the field Thursday night.
That brings us back to Abdullah, a third-year player who appeared in a few nickel snaps last season but otherwise has been a safety throughout his career. There is no scouting report on him as a cornerback. So at this point, we have no choice but to continue assuming the Vikings know something we don't.