Sharper looking sharper

Randy Moss started the week listed as doubtful on the injury report, but the Vikings said he most likely would not play. Darren Sharper has been listed as questionable all week, but all along said he would play.

Both predictions turned out prophetic.

Moss, indeed, was moved to "out" on the injury list Thursday. With Sharper practicing the last two days, he is more confident than ever that he will be an active participant in Sunday's Vikings-Packers showdown for supremacy in the NFC North.

Sharper remains listed as questionable on the injury report, meaning there is a 50 percent chance he will play Sunday. But he has practiced well all week as he recovers from a partially torn posterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"Hopefully, I showed Coach in practice enough that he'll let me go," Sharper said. "I thought I moved around out there pretty well. Enough to go out there and play. That's the main thing."

Packers coach Mike Sherman, however, remains in wait-and-see mode but is optimistic.

"We'll run him some more (Saturday) and see. I wouldn't say he's 100 percent just yet, but he's getting closer," Sherman said after Friday's workout. "I want to look at the tape to see how he moved. I watched him out there, and he did some good things. But I want to make sure he's close to 100 percent. I don't want to put him in a position where he might re-injure his knee."

To prevent aggravating the injury at practice, Sharper has been wearing a brace at practice. Like it or not, he says, the brace would be part of his game-day gear.

"I don't like wearing it, but I have to," said Sharper. "It's one of those ‘doctor's orders' things."

Even without Moss, Sharper's availability is critical for the Packers' defense. The Vikings lead the league in offense, and quarterback Daunte Culpepper has completed a league-high 72 percent of his passes. He has the benefit of a talented receiving corps.

Nate Burleson has a team-high 32 catches. Marcus Robinson, signed during the off-season to be a deep threat opposite Moss, has 28 catches and six touchdowns. Tight end Jermaine Wiggins has taken advantage of favorable matchups against linebackers to grab 29 balls. Running backs Mewelde Moore and Onterrio Smith have combined for 44 catches. Kelly Campbell has 14 catches for a team-high 16.5 yards per grab.

Assuming he's in the lineup, Sharper wants to be tested right away.

"I want to hit somebody to see how it feels, but I can kind of know if it's strong enough. If I get hit or hit somebody I'll be fine. It would be nice, especially at the beginning of the game, to get it out of the way so you could kind of clear your mind."

Meanwhile, starting right tackle Mark Tauscher practiced Friday after suffering a stinger on Wednesday and missing Thursday's workout. He's listed as probably on the list, as is starting guard Marco Rivera (ankle). Reserve linebacker Paris Lenon (knee) is questionable.


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