With rookies Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth Jr. batting injuries, it’s uncertain who will start at right cornerback for the Vikings on Thursday night against New England.
Evans, who was hurt Nov. 13 at Buffalo and sat out last Sunday’s 40-3 loss to Dallas, remains in the concussion protocol and was listed as limited Tuesday after a walkthrough practice. And Booth, who was hurt against the Cowboys, missed his second straight workout. If neither can play, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Duke Shelley would start.
“That protocol is very standard, and it’s very important that we follow it absolutely by the doctors, by the independent folks and by our folks in house here just to make sure health and safety is the number one priority,” OConnell said. “With Booth, he just had some soreness in that knee pop up postgame. That can happen from time to time. With it being a short week, we’ll see where he’s at.”
O’Connell said he has confidence in Shelley, who played three overtime snaps at Buffalo, and broke up a key pass in the end zone. If he were to start, Shelley would be the third starter in three games at right cornerback since Cameron Dantzler was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 12 with a left high ankle sprain.
“As we saw against Buffalo, (Shelley) is ready when his number called to step in and make a play,” O’Connell said.
The Vikings also listed as limited after the walkthrough defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (right calf) and edge rusher Za’Darius Smith (knee). O’Connell said that Tomlinson, who has missed the past three games, has a chance to play against the Patriots.