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As if there weren't enough bodily breakdowns for cornerbacks to combat during a long NFL season, along comes a COVID-19 scare to sideline two Vikings for Sunday's game against the Lions.

"That's tough, man," Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander said of Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Hand being placed on the COVID-19 list this week. "But we'll be all right. We have [Parry Nickerson and Tye Smith] on the practice squad."

If the Vikings continue coach Mike Zimmer's penchant for keeping six corners active, both Nickerson and Smith will be promoted for Sunday's game. Fortunately, no other corners were impacted by the virus as of Friday.

Worried you might become the third one at some point before kickoff, Mackensie?

"No," he said. "I'm vaccinated. I take care of my business. I stay on top of everything."

As a six-year veteran who's learned under the likes of ironman corners Terence Newman and now Patrick Peterson, Alexander is getting used to the constant upkeep it takes at a position that can be unforgiving to hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, ankles and pretty much anything else involving a human's legs.

"It happens more with us because corners are asked to be quick-twitchy fast guys who can cover, but at the same time they're asked to go out and play the run game," Alexander said. "A lot of times, corners are running way more than any other position on the field. They're having to react all the time so, of course, those hamstrings and those other tweaks come along often."

Starter Breshaud Breeland, who played only six snaps against the Browns last week before exiting with a stomach illness, was on this week's injury list with the illness but had full participation in practice all week and will start Sunday. Though even he admits he has struggled, a healthy Breeland helps because Dantzler is out after playing 92% of the defensive snaps last week.

Meanwhile, young backup Kris Boyd, who missed last week's game because of a hamstring injury, was taken off the injury report on Friday. He, too, is good to go and might step into a significant role if Breeland's problems continue.

"There's not a lot of depth at that position around the NFL," Vikings co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer said. "So we've got to keep training our young guys to be ready."

In the Vikings' secondary, safeties Harrison Smith and Xavier Woods have played 100% of the 261 defensive snaps this season. Peterson, who hasn't missed a game because of injury in his 11 seasons, also has played 100% of the snaps.

Smith and Peterson became golfing buddies this past offseason — "He's a little better than me," Smith admits — so they had a lot of time to share health tips from one former All-Pro to another.

"We both kind of talked about how we take care of ourselves and try to stay healthy throughout a season," Smith said. "I think it's harder for corners because they're constantly just running sprints all day long. So some of it is, I think, you just have to be lucky with your genes. He kind of reminds me of Terence in that regard as far as natural ability, but also he really stays on top of keeping his body right."

Peterson has in his recovery arsenal a hyperbaric chamber. Receiver Justin Jefferson has tinkered with the chamber when he visits Peterson.

"You've got an oxygen mask on and you're in a chamber full of pressure," he said. "I mean, you just chill out, watch whatever show you want, do whatever, but it's pretty cool. You can take a nap."

Alexander has developed his own weekly routine.

"After every game, I do a hot tub, cold tub for about 10 minutes; in and out, about two minutes each time," he said. "Then I go home and do an Epsom salt bath after every game, every practice.

"I see a massage therapist about two times a week. I see a PT guy, a myofascial release guy, at least two times a week."

Wait. Back up. A myo what guy?

"He goes in there to the first layer of your muscles and moves it around quite a bit," Alexander said. "Think of it like a river that's full of rocks. A river with rocks piled up stops and can't flow. If that's your body, that's when you hurt things. Getting the myofascial release gets things flowing again and gets you reset, which is key because as a corner, you have to make sure your muscles are firing a certain way or you get hurt."

Mike Zimmer is in favor of whatever keeps his cornerback room vibrant. The guy who jokes before every draft that his ideal number of cornerbacks is "just one more" has taken his lumps at the position of late.

In May, the Vikings traded Mike Hughes, a 24-year-old first-round pick in 2018, to the Chiefs for a sixth-round pick in 2022. The Vikings essentially thought Hughes' career was finished because of a neck injury. Last Sunday, Hughes started, played 95% of the snaps and had a team-high 10 tackles in Kansas City's win over Philadelphia.

In August, the Vikings released Jeff Gladney, a 24-year-old first-round draft pick from last year. A domestic violence charge against him was something the team refused to tolerate.

Zimmer will keep in mind what Bill Parcells, his Hall of Fame mentor, always told him about cornerbacks.

"He'd say, 'We need six on campus all the time,'" Zimmer said. "They get dinged, they get soft-tissue injuries, COVID. He didn't know about COVID, but you know what I mean. That's the way it is."