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Pro Football Weekly hits up Vikings beat writer Judd Zulgad for all the latest happenings each week with the team.
PFW: Are we going to see more Greg Camarillo this week?
JZ: The possession receiver played only a handful of snaps against the Saints, in part because he continues to adjust to the Vikings’ offense after being acquired late in the preseason from Miami. But as the Vikings get set to face the Dolphins this Sunday, Camarillo is expected to play a bigger role. He not only has excellent hands — meaning he’s a guy Brett Favre will trust in any given situation — but the Vikings also continue to carry four wide receivers on their roster. Getting Camarillo in the mix means the other three (Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin and Greg Lewis) can get more of a rest at times. Camarillo could help the Vikings, too, because he will know plenty about the Dolphins’ defense.
PFW: Will Percy Harvin’s migraines continue to be an issue even if he says he thinks they are beyond him?
JZ: Harvin has suffered from migraines since he was 10 and has seen numerous specialists. The only way that Harvin, or anyone, is going to know his migraines are a thing of the past is for him to not have them for an extended period. The reality is that the best Harvin probably can hope for is that the discovery he has sleep apnea — and the fact that issue is now being treated — will mean the migraines become far more manageable. Remember, he missed much of the preseason because of issues with migraines. He also missed one game and numerous practices last year because of the problem. Harvin and the Vikings probably know that he will again have migraines at some point. But if they are infrequent that will be a major breakthrough.
PFW: How did MLB E.J. Henderson hold up after his first game action in nine months?
JZ: Henderson did better than anyone could have expected. Returning from a fractured left femur suffered last December in Arizona, Henderson was back at middle linebacker in Week One and frequently stayed on the field with fellow LB Chad Greenway in nickel situations. (There were some cases where Greenway and Ben Leber were the linebackers.) The Saints went right at Henderson early, and it’s clear it’s going to take some time for him to get his mobility back fully. But Henderson’s experience and savvy make him an asset for the Vikings’ defense, and the more he plays the more comfortable he will become.
PFW: Why did the Vikings get away from Adrian Peterson in the second half in the loss to the Saints?
JZ: Peterson rushed for 57 yards on 13 carries in the first half as the Vikings took a 9-7 lead. The blueprint for the Vikings appeared to be set. But in the second half Peterson carried the ball only six times for 30 yards and did not once get it handed to him in the fourth quarter. Head coach Brad Childress said the problem was the Vikings went three-and-out so often in the half — three-of-five possessions — that they found themselves in unfavorable third-down situations and had to throw the ball more than they wanted. Nonetheless, with Favre and his receivers looking rusty, Peterson gave the Vikings offense the best chance to win. Look for him to get the ball handed to him about 25 times on Sunday.
PFW: What problems do the Dolphins present Sunday?
JZ: Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was the coach of the 49ers in 2007 when Peterson was held to a career-low three rushing yards on 14 carries. Nolan is now trying to find success with a 3-4 defense in Miami and promises to throw many different looks at a Vikings offense that is still trying to find its way. LB Karlos Dansby could cause all types of problems. While Miami likes to run the ball, stopping the ground game is the strength of the Vikings defense. That means the passing game might be Miami’s best bet. Brandon Marshall, who is 6-4, could cause issues for the Vikings CB trio of Antoine Winfield (5-9), Asher Allen (5-9) and Lito Sheppard (5-10). The Vikings figure to be without CBs Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin, who continue to recover from knee injuries.
Judd Zulgad covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune and Pro Football Weekly. Be sure to check out his Access Vikings blog on the Star Tribune Web site and follow him on Twitter @JuddZulgad.