Well, that was a short lived panic. Safety, and future All-Pro, Pat Chung returned to practice on Thursday, after missing a couple days of practice early in the week with a knee injury. The Patriots were looking at a potential two week sit-out of Chung, due to injury, against two teams with solid tight ends (Visanthe Shiancoe of the Vikings and Ben Watson ! of the Browns). While it's no guarantee that Chung will be playing on Sunday, the fact that he returned to a full-pad practice is a great sign about his recovery and health.
If Chung returns, the safety core will be looking extremely capable. Brandon Meriweather played every defensive snap against the Chargers. James Sanders saw plenty of field time as both the 3rd safety on 3-safety sets and also as the #2 safety when Chung went down with an injury. Sergio Brown exceeded expectations with a solid game against Antonio Gates and should look to contribute even more as the season continues. Jarrad Page remains out of practice with a calf injury.
The Patriots will most definitely look to 3-safety sets against the Vikings, with their power running and big tight end offense, making the return of Chung even more important. A defensive set with a healthy Pat Chung, a suddenly effective Brandon Meriweather and either a strong tackler in Sergio Brown or a cover guy in James Sanders looks to be an immediate upgrade over the past couple weeks.
Hopefully Chung can continue to practice and take the field on Sunday. Today was a good first step.