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Updated: November 18th, 2011 2:20pm
Notebook: Erin Henderson, Visanthe Shiancoe questionable for Sunday

Notebook: Erin Henderson, Visanthe Shiancoe questionable for Sunday

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- E.J. Henderson has played reduced snaps most of the season because of knee trouble. His brother might be limited on Sunday as well.

The Minnesota Vikings listed Erin Henderson as questionable on the injury report on Friday, shortly after he was limited in practice for the second consecutive day because of what coach Leslie Frazier has termed a "slight" hamstring problem.

Frazier said coaches were encouraged by Erin Henderson's progress and indicated he should play on Sunday. But Frazier acknowledged "it's a possibility" older brother E.J. could get a share of the nickel snaps for the second consecutive week, even though coaches would prefer to keep the 31-year-old limited.

"We'd like for it to be that way, although this week (E.J.)'s practiced better than he has in a long, long time," Frazier said. "We were commenting on it (Thursday) when we were watching the tape from the practice. He looks fresher than he has in awhile, and he played more like E.J. in that game on Monday night."

E.J. Henderson played 33 snaps -- including 11 snaps of nickel -- in that blowout loss to the Packers and did show a little more burst while recording four solo tackles. Erin Henderson left in the fourth quarter because of the injury and was replaced by special teamer Kenny Onatolu, who could factor on Sunday against Oakland.

"We may end up having to play Kenny some," Frazier said. "We're going to probably see if we can get Xavier Adibi up as well. So, we'll have some alternatives if something were to happen to either one of them."

Health watch

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) also was listed as questionable on the injury report but should be fine, Frazier said.

As expected, right guard Anthony Herrera (knee) and safety Husain Abdullah (concussion) were ruled out, as was cornerback Chris Cook (not injury related).

Long snapper Cullen Loeffler (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis and was listed as probable, along with receiver Michael Jenkins (knee) and quarterback Christian Ponder (left hand).

"Everything felt good," said Loeffler, who wouldn't reveal how he injured his right rotator cuff. "Ready to go for the game."

The Vikings were prepared to work out long snappers on Friday or Saturday if Loeffler didn't make enough progress.

Oakland ruled out quarterback Jason Campbell (collarbone), receiver Jacoby Ford (foot), cornerback Chris Johnson and halfback Darren McFadden (foot). Safeties Michael Huff (ankle) and Michael Mitchell (ankle), defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee), running back Manase Tonga (knee) and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring) are questionable.

Turnover battle

The Vikings entered the week tied for the NFL lead in fewest turnovers (eight) and tied for seventh in turnover margin (plus-4). They're also the only the only team ranked in the top 15 in turnover margin with a losing record.

"That was one of the things we hammered when we came to camp back in Mankato on July 31st, was the importance of turnover ratio and how it equates to wins," Frazier said. "To be plus-four at Week 9 and be 2-7, it doesn't add up until you start to look at some of the other issues that we've had. But you take that. You never want it to be any other way."

Nickel duties

Cornerback Marcus Sherels returned to practice, one day after leaving the team following a death in his family.

He's expected to split nickel duties on Sunday with veteran cornerback Benny Sapp, who signed a one-year deal with the Vikings on Wednesday that will pay him $333,530 if he's on the roster the rest of the season.

Sapp hasn't played in a game since Sept. 12, so conditioning could be a concern if the Raiders spread out and keep the Vikings' subpackage defenses on the field.

"We're definitely going to play (Sapp)," Frazier said. "Now, how much he plays, that'll be determined."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 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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