Being a defensive back for the Minnesota Vikings is proving to be quite the hazardous undertaking. Not only are you in serious danger of burn injuries from even the (seemingly) weakest of quarterbacks, but the risk of injury is apparently higher than just about anywhere else on the field.
Sitting out of practice on Wednesday for the Vikings were cornerbacks Chris Cook and A.J. Jefferson, as well as safety Jamarca Sanford. Cook's injury is to his groin, Jefferson's to his ankle, and Sanford's to his hamstring. Sanford and Jefferson haven't played very good football this season, and Cook can't stay healthy for five consecutive minutes anyway, so relying on him seems to be more and more of a lost cause.
Just as baffling, however. . .at least to me. . .is what the depth chart at cornerback will look like if Cook and Jefferson can't go on Sunday. From Ben Goessling's story linked above:
All three players did not practice on Wednesday, and it remains to be seen how many of them will be available on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium. If the Vikings' depth is limited, coach Leslie Frazier said he would likely stick with the same arrangement the Vikings used last Sunday, playing Marcus Sherels and Josh Robinson in the base defense and using rookie Xavier Rhodes as the left cornerback in the team's nickel package.
Now, Sherels did have a nice game against the Browns when pressed into duty, and Robinson has good talent, even though he hasn't fully realized it yet. But holy hell, why are either of these guys ahead of Xavier Rhodes on the depth chart? He's quite clearly the most talented cornerback on this roster, and has performed exceptionally well. In his first three games, Rhodes has allowed just seven receptions for 61 yards, and nothing longer than 11 yards.
I'm not sure why, exactly, this coaching staff seems to be scared to death to play certain players (see also: Patterson, Cordarrelle and Bishop, Desmond) despite the fact that they're outperforming a lot of the guys that are seeing the majority of the snaps on the field thus far. Hopefully this problem will fix itself at some point.