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Updated: November 10th, 2010 3:41pm
Notebook: Concussion casts doubt on Asher Allen's status for Sunday

Notebook: Concussion casts doubt on Asher Allen's status for Sunday

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The mystery of Asher Allen's early exit on Sunday has been solved.

Allen didn't practice on Wednesday and was listed on the injury report with a concussion, three days after the Vikings' starting right cornerback sat out the entire fourth quarter and overtime of a win over Arizona.

It appeared the injury may have occurred on the second-to-last play of the third quarter. Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald ran an out-breaking route against zone coverage, and Allen took him down almost immediately, possibly with helmet-to-helmet contact. Allen appeared shaken after the play but stayed in for the next snap before coaches removed him.

On Wednesday, Allen mostly watched practice from the sideline, did some light jogging and didn't speak with reporters in the locker room.

The NFL has played an emphasis this season on approaching concussions cautiously, and the only other Viking reported with one this season, safety Husain Abdullah, was held out of the next game on Oct. 24 against Green Bay.

If Allen ends up on a similar timetable, rookie Chris Cook -- who was in line to start in the preseason and finished Sunday's game in Allen's place with the base defense -- most likely would get the start opposite Antoine Winfield, with Lito Sheppard or Frank Walker handling nickel duties.

Walker sat out Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, leaving Sheppard (hand) to play in the dime defense and then move into the nickel once Allen departed. Sheppard held up OK after being inactive the previous two weeks, too, making a key tackle of Fitzgerald to halt a drive late in regulation.

Sheppard (hand) and Walker (hamstring) were listed on the injury report as full participants in Wednesday's practice, while Cook wasn't listed at all after battling knee and quadriceps issues for months.

Preparing for Peppers

Bears end Julius Peppers sacked Vikings quarterback Brett Favre once and hit him three times last Dec. 20, when Peppers was playing for Carolina. Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie -- who also gave up a sack to rookie Everette Brown -- struggled so badly in that game the Vikings benched him in the third quarter.

Asked on Wednesday if he's looking forward to facing McKinnie again, though, Peppers played dumb.

"Uh, I don't know why you would ask that," Peppers said. "I don't. It's another game."

The Bears signed Peppers to a six-year, $84 million megacontract in March and have been using him on both sides of the line. Though Peppers has only two sacks this season, he leads the Bears with 12 quarterback pressures and will provide a supreme test for McKinnie, right tackle Phil Loadholt and the rest of the Vikings' protection unit.

"No doubt Bryant had a tough game last year," Favre said. "And really, this year, you could point to any one of us and say, 'This guy has struggled. This guy has struggled.' Moreso than last year. So, Bryant would probably be the first to tell you he could protect a little bit better. ... But in talking with him this week, just kind of joking around with him, I've said, 'Hey, you've got a big challenge again this week.' He's ready for it."

Israel Idonije, a longtime rotational player, has been starting at left end and leads the Bears with five sacks.

What now?

For the second consecutive week, Favre sat out the Wednesday practice -- no surprise, considering coach Brad Childress has said multiple times last Thursday's practice was Favre's best all season.

Favre kept his consecutive-starts streak alive the past two weeks despite a painful fracture in his left heel, as well as a stress fracture in his heel, and Wednesday's injury report listed with him a calf ailment, too.

"It's OK," Favre said of the ankle and foot injuries. "Of course, after a game, it always feels worse. It's still swollen, but at least I'm able to function enough on it that Monday and Tuesday and maybe Wednesday I try to stay off of it as much as possible. Get it back to where it feels tolerable. I'm surprised with a broken foot that it doesn't feel as bad as it probably should."

Health watch

The only other players sitting out entirely were backup safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) and receiver Percy Harvin (ankle/illness), who was absent because of a migraine headache.

Right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee) and defensive tackle Pat Williams (elbow) were limited. End Everson Griffen (shoulder) was a full participant.

For Chicago, center Olin Kreutz (hamstring) didn't practice. Cornerbacks Zackary Bowman (foot), Tim Jennings (knee) and D.J. Moore (head) were limited.

Quick hits

• A day after losing S Colt Anderson to Philadelphia's 53-man roster, the Vikings filled the vacant spot on their practice squad with DB Cord Parks, who appeared in two games with St. Louis at the end of last season. Parks, who also has played receiver, was undrafted out of Northeastern in 2009 and most recently had a couple of stints on Seattle's practice squad.

• The Vikings' road losing streak is at eight games, including losses at New Orleans, the New York Jets, Green Bay and New England this season. Asked what they can do differently, Childress said, "Play better. There's not a magic elixir to leave game day or have a live goal-line set before we get off the field. It's usually just playing better, making sure you take care of the football on the road, trying to take the crowd out of it, that type of thing."

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.
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