Andy Dalton likely will start at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, after Jameis Winston missed practice Friday for the third consecutive day and was labeled "doubtful" by Coach Dennis Allen.
"I think it's doubtful that Jameis plays in the game, so our plan right now is to have Andy ready to go," Allen said. "We'll see how things go overnight, but Andy will be ready to go if that's the direction that we go."
Winston is listed on the injury report with back and ankle injuries. Specifically, the back injury was identified as four fractured vertebrae, which required Winston to wear extra padding in Sunday's 22-14 loss to Carolina. He started the first three games for the Saints (1-2) and engineered a historic comeback in the season opener, when New Orleans erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter en route to a 27-26 victory over Atlanta.
But Winston's effectiveness was sporadic after that; he threw three fourth-quarter interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, against Tampa Bay in a 20-10 loss, and added two fourth-quarter interceptions against Carolina.
"Just a little bit of the accumulation of the wear and tear," Allen said, regarding Winston. "It's a long season. I don't think his body responded quite the way we anticipated over the first couple of days. So we've rested him this week. We've still got a couple of days, but we'll see."
Winston has passed for 858 yards and four touchdowns, with five interceptions, this season while completing 63.5 percent of his passes. He didn't practice last Wednesday prior to the Carolina game, but was able to ramp up as the week progressed and started against the Panthers.
Dalton, in his 12th season and with 148 NFL starts under his belt, didn't take a snap in the first three games but easily is one of the most accomplished backup quarterbacks in the league. Dalton has 35,279 career passing yards, with 226 touchdowns and 135 interceptions while completing 62.2 percent of his passes.
"Andy has done this," Allen said. "He's performed at a high level in our league, and that's really one of the big reasons why we brought him here, is in case he's called upon, we feel highly confident that he can go in and do the job. We're kind of looking in that direction. We'll take it to the last minute, but I think it's doubtful that Jameis plays."
Dalton's last start was the season finale for the Bears last season, and he completed 33 of 48 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. He has taken all the first-team reps at quarterback this week.
"It's been the same preparation that I've had every week," Dalton said. "I always prepare myself the same way. So with whatever happens, I know I'll be ready. This week I've just gotten a little more practice time out there. However this thing goes, I'll be ready if my number is called.
"For me, I had the whole spring while Jameis was rehabbing. I think that was a great time for me to get to know these guys and to be around them. I feel really good about where we're at."
New Orleans Saints held practice in London on Friday, Sept. 30 ahead of their Sunday game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 of the 2022 NFL season.