Moss may not torment Packers

Randy Moss's pain could be a huge gain for the Green Bay Packers.

The Vikings could be without Green Bay's Public Enemy No. 1 for Sunday's first-place NFC North showdown at Lambeau Field. Moss, who suffered a slight sprain in his right hamstring during the Oct. 17 game against New Orleans, will be listed as doubtful for the game. Vikings officials, however, say Moss could not only miss this game, but the next few.

Moss did his injury no favors by trying to play in the two games following the injury. He played a couple of snaps in each — running his lengthy games-started streak to 103 — before missing the first game of his NFL career Monday night at Indianapolis.

Vikings coach Mike Tice held Moss out in hopes of having his playmaker healthy for the vastly more important Packers game, but that wish may not come true.

Clearly for the Packers, Moss on the sideline would be a sight to behold. Moss has tormented the Packers more than any other team in his career, with about 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games.

The absence of Moss obviously hurt the Vikings in Monday night's 31-28 loss at Indianapolis. The Vikings failed to hit the 300-yard mark in offense for the first time in 37 games. While Culpepper's accuracy was perfect in the second half, his longest completion covered just 18 yards against a horrid Colts defense.

If Moss is out, it could offset the possible loss to the Packers' secondary of starting safety Darren Sharper. Sharper plays a pivotal role in the Packers' attempts to keep Moss under wraps. In seasons past, the Packers used Mike McKenzie to take away Moss short, while the 6-foot-2 Sharper took Moss deep and used his height to take away the jump ball.

Sharper, however, is optimistic he'll be available. He sat out the Washington game and then had the bye week to heal a sprained posterior-cruciate ligament. He has been running in a straight line but has not attempted to make any cuts to truly test the knee.

"Right now, I'd say it's definitely better than 50-50," Sharper said. "I have to get so I can burst and take off. As far as moving, I feel pretty good."

Even with Moss out, though, the Vikings are a handful. Without Moss on Monday and most of the previous two games, the Vikings still lead the NFL in offense at 414.0 yards per game. The Vikings also lead the league in yards per play (6.7) and third-down conversion percentage (51.5), and are second in passing at 289.0 yards per game.

Nate Burleson leads the team with 32 catches and 426 yards. Tight end Jermaine Wiggins has emerged with 29 receptions, Marcus Robinson, another big-play threat, has 28 catches and Moss checks in with 26 grabs and a team-high eight touchdowns.


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