Antoine Winfield returns to practice; four offensive linemen banged up
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings' secondary may get reinforcements this week. And the offensive line may need some.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield returned to practice on Wednesday, 2½ weeks after making a tackle in a loss at Kansas City that left him with a stiff neck. He was listed on the injury report as a limited participant.
Whether he returns in a full-time or reduced role -- perhaps playing only in the nickel defense -- will be determined by how he practices this week, coach Leslie Frazier said.
"We're going to see how Antoine does," Frazier said, "if he's able to practice (Wednesday), and then we'll make a determination later in the week of what we think he can do from a rep standpoint and then we'll make that decision."
Meanwhile, right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee) and center John Sullivan (concussion) missed practice, leaving their status for Sunday's game against unbeaten Green Bay is up in the air. Two other starting offensive linemen, left guard Steve Hutchinson (knee) and left tackle Charlie Johnson (triceps), also were sore after Sunday's loss at Chicago.
"We're a little banged up," Frazier said. "With Phil's situation being questionable, we're going to have to see how he progresses over the course of the week. Charlie's been a little banged up and so is Hutch a little bit. With Sully's concussion, we'll still going to be probably day to day right up until Friday, what his availability will be. So, we'll have to juggle some parts and get guys ready to play and they understand it's next man up."
Hutchinson's knee was a little sore and swollen after Sunday's game, while Johnson has been dealing with triceps on and off since training camp. Both should be fine for Sunday, Frazier said. Johnson wasn't even listed on the injury report, and Hutchinson was listed as a full participant.
"If guys get in, they have to play and play well," Frazier said. "What they're doing front-wise on defense in Green Bay creates some issues for your offense and your offensive line in particular. So, we've really got to be on it when it comes to studying and getting a feel for their defensive front."
The Packers ruled out left tackle Chad Clifton (knee/hamstring), end Mike Neal (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (knee). Linebackers Clay Matthews (quadriceps) and Jamari Lattimore (shoulder), cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) and guard Josh Sitton (knee) did not participate in practice, while safety Morgan Burnett (hand) and cornerback Charles Woodson (foot/knee) were limited and tight end Andrew Quarless (knee) was a full participant.