The Minnesota Vikings‘ challenge against Ben Roethlisberger and those passing Pittsburgh Steelers looks even greater now.
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Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield was listed doubtful for Sunday’s game with a sprained right foot. Safety Madieu Williams is listed as questionable with a quadriceps injury, as is backup safety Husain Abdullah with a sore back.
Winfield’s absence, coupled with the bumps and bruises affecting Williams and Abdullah, would make life much easier for Big Ben and the Steelers second-ranked passing offense.
Winfield was injured last Sunday against Baltimore and did not practice all week. Benny Sapp would likely get the start in his place if Winfield cannot play.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco picked apart Winfield’s sub, Karl Paymah, last week after the hard-hitting cornerback went down in the second quarter. Flacco threw for 196 yards in the fourth quarter alone, but the Vikings (6-0) held on for a 33-31 win to remain undefeated.
Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards in a win over the Cleveland Browns last week and has yet to attempt fewer than 30 passes in a game this season for the Steelers (4-2), who have moved away from their smashmouth roots to a more wide open offense.
Hines Ward leads the league in receiving, and Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller give the Steelers the most balanced passing offense the Vikings have seen this season.
Vikings kick returner and receiver Percy Harvin was also listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Harvin was first hurt two weeks ago and aggravated the injury against the Ravens.
Punt returner Darius Reynaud (hamstring) is doubtful, while running back Adrian Peterson (ankle), right tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) and backup safety Eric Frampton (ankle) are all listed as probable.