Will Cedric Griffin Return to Minnesota Vikings' Starting Lineup This Week?

David Kindervater@TheDGKCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Cedric Griffin #23 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin will play football this season. That's why he finds himself on the team's active 53-man roster rather than injured reserve. The Vikings have plans for Griffin.

So, the question is not if he will play—it's when. That "when" now looks like it could be sooner than later.

After suffering a devastating knee injury in the Vikings' NFC Championship Game loss to the New Orleans Saints back in January, a 2010 midseason return was predicted.

But Griffin has progressed ahead of schedule and is listed as "Limited Participation in Practice" (aka questionable) on the early injury report for the team's Week 2 home opener against the Miami Dolphins.

My guess is that if Griffin does play, it will be in a limited role as a situational participant.

I don't believe he's ready to handle the workload of a full game as a starting corner at this point. Vikings coach Brad Childress isn't so sure either:

"What we were seeing with Cedric—and I can’t predict the future—is that he needed to get out there and do things specific to football. He couldn’t progress any more in the training area or out here doing the drills that the trainers have him do. He needed to be out here doing football-specific things, and he’s playing without a brace this week. Last week he was in a brace, and this week he’s got the brace off.

"The process that we talk about, there’s kind of an evolution. He’s got to have faith in all of his faculties. ... I don’t know yet (if Griffin will play). I need to go in and look at both of those guys (Griffin and also-injured cornerback Chris Cook) on tape. Those are the guys that are going to determine their role as we watch them play."

Even without the likes of Griffin and Cook, the Vikings held their own last week against one of the NFL's most explosive offenses, limiting New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to 237 passing yards.

Upon both players' return—especially in terms of depth—the Vikings' defensive secondary should be more of a strength than a weakness.