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Updated: October 20th, 2011 2:04pm
Antoine Winfield's status uncertain for Sunday's game against Packers

Antoine Winfield's status uncertain for Sunday's game against Packers

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Antoine Winfield practiced on a limited basis for a second consecutive day on Thursday, but it remains uncertain if the cornerback will be able to return from a neck strain and play in Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome.

"We'll try to get him more work (Friday) to see if we can make a decision about Sunday but the fact that he's trying, that's a good sign," Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "But we're not sure until we see him workout (Friday) how we'll list him for the game."

Winfield was injured on Oct. 2 at Kansas City and missed the following two games. He practiced on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury.

"It's a tough one," Frazier said of Winfield's neck issue. "A lot of it depends on him. Today, we actually had him hit the sled and try to get some contact that way because we really don't want him being taken to the ground (in a tackling drill).

"Just to have him feel contact and a little reverberation, just to see how he would respond and it was positive. But it's a lot different when you're talking about the neck as opposed to a shoulder or a finger or whatever, so we'll have to kind of listen to what he has to say about how he feels."

There was a time two weeks ago when Frazier was optimistic that Winfield might not miss any games. His absence Sunday would be a major setback considering how many multiple receiver sets the Packers employ. That means the Vikings ideally would be able to use four cornerbacks in some situations.

Asked about how long it has taken Winfield to return, Frazier said the veteran continues to have stiffness in his neck.

"It's less than it was two weeks ago, but not to the point where he's comfortable enough to say, 'You know, I'm ready to go and play the kind of football I'm accustomed to playing,'" Frazier said. "So we'll have to kind of wait and see where he is."

Harvin, Loadholt return

Wide receiver Percy Harvin (ribs) and right tackle Phil Loadholt (right knee) practiced Thursday on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday. 

Frazier said Harvin is "feeling good," and that Loadholt, "looks like he's going to be OK."

Loadholt said before practice that he planned on playing Sunday. He was injured in the first quarter last Sunday at Chicago when he landed wrong on his knee and his cleat got caught in the ground. Loadholt left the game in the second half and was replaced by Pat Brown.

Center John Sullivan and safety Jamarca Sanford, who both suffered concussions against the Bears, continued to sit out and Frazier said both are doubtful at this point.

The NFL has strict protocol rules on concussions, including making sure players are clearned to return by an independent neurologist. Frazier explained that Sullivan and Sanford can continue to be tested this weekend.

"There are different procedures that are done," Freazier said. "Today they had to do some exercises, some different things, to see how they would respond and (Friday) there will be some other things that they have to do.

"But each day they've had some protocols they've had to go through and to see how they responded. So far, or the fact that they aren't out here, tells you that we haven't gotten to the point where we can clear them yet."

Sullivan will be replaced by Joe Berger if he can't go. Tyrell Johnson would step in for Sanford as the starter at strong safety.

Linebackers E.J. Henderson (knee) and Kenny Onatolu (hamstring) were limited for a second consecutive day in practice. Left guard Steve Hutchinson (knee) remained on the injury report but has not missed any time this week.

Matthews, Sitton return

Linebacker Clay Matthews (quadriceps) and guard Josh Sitton (knee) practiced on a limited basis Thursday for the Packers after being out Wednesday.

Linebacker Jamari Lattimore (shoulder) and cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) did not practice. Safety Morgan Burnett (hand) and cornerback Charles Woodson (foot, knee) were limited.

Tom Pelissero contributed.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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