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Updated: October 20th, 2010 2:19pm
'Foggy' Abdullah remains sidelined; Kleinsasser, Sheppard also sit out

'Foggy' Abdullah remains sidelined; Kleinsasser, Sheppard also sit out

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Husain Abdullah remains "foggy" three days after his concussion, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress said, and the third-year safety was a spectator during practice on Wednesday afternoon.

Abdullah, who has started all five games at strong safety, sustained the concussion in the first quarter of Sunday's win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Jamarca Sanford finished the game and is the primary candidate to start Sunday night's game at Green Bay if Abdullah can't go, although Childress said the team would consider deposed starter Tyrell Johnson, too.

Sanford said his performance against Dallas wasn't his best. He's known as a hard-hitter but worked throughout the offseason on getting better breaks on the ball in coverage.

"I know I can do better," Sanford said. "This week here, hopefully I have a chance to prove, show them what I can do when my number's called."

The only other players who didn't practice on Wednesday were tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser (groin) and cornerback Lito Sheppard (hand). Kleinsasser hasn't missed a game since he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2004 opener. It's unclear when his or Sheppard's injuries occurred, since both finished Sunday's game.

Cornerback Chris Cook (knee) and center John Sullivan (calf) both practiced, and Cook spoke in the locker room as if he expected to return on Sunday.

Cook underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee about two weeks ago -- little more than a month after having a similar procedure on his right knee.

"This was a faster recovery," Cook said. "It wasn't as drastic of a tear."

It's unclear whether Sullivan, who was injured on the first play Sept. 26 against Detroit, will come back as the starter whenever he's healthy. Coaches were impressed with second-year pro Jon Cooper's first NFL start on Sunday.

"Right now, I would say that that would be a tag-team deal," Childress said. "We're going to rep those guys about equally in practice and see how John comes along. ... It'll be how he comes back (Thursday) and how he feels and that type of thing."

Cook, Sullivan, offensive lineman Chris DeGeare (ankle), quarterback Brett Favre (ankle/right elbow), linebacker E.J. Henderson (knee) and end Brian Robison (ankle) were listed as limited participants. Henderson's injury wasn't previously revealed.

Receiver Sidney Rice (hip surgery) played catch on the sideline with Vikings staff members and doesn't appear close to returning from the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Rice became eligible on Tuesday. The Vikings have until Nov. 9 to begin practicing him; whenever that happens, they'll have three weeks to move him to the 53-man roster or place him on injured reserve.

"You can do some land training and that, whether it's walking, whether it's jogging, on the turf or on the grass," Childress said. "But we've got three weeks from when we feel like he's able to come back and practice where we have to take a look at him. There's football shape (and) there's conditioning shape."

The Packers ruled out end Mike Neal (shoulder) and linebacker Brady Poppinga (knee). Three other starters -- safety Nick Collins (knee), receiver Donald Driver (quadricep) and linebacker A.J. Hawk (groin) -- did not participate in Wednesday's practice, and six were limited: linebacker Brandon Chillar (shoulder), end Cullen Jenkins (hand), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), end Ryan Pickett (ankle), tackle Mark Tauscher (shoulder) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe).

Matthews "had a very positive workout" on Wednesday, said coach Mike McCarthy, who is hopeful his star pass rusher will return from a hamstring injury this week.

The Packers also activated three players from their reserve/physically unable to perform list -- cornerback Al Harris, safety Atari Bigby and running back James Starks -- but McCarthy said it was too soon to tell whether any of them might be available for Sunday.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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