"I fully anticipate Daryn Colledge starting at left tackle, if you're looking for a statement," McCarthy said on Saturday.
But that doesn't mean the door has been slammed completely on injured veteran Chad Clifton, who is listed as questionable on the injury report, meaning there's a 50 percent chance he will play.
Although Clifton worked out on the side during a special-teams period, he did not participate in practice all week — which McCarthy had said was a must. But McCarthy said he's "making progress" in his recovery from a sprained ankle sustained two weeks ago against Cincinnati. Assuming that progress continues, there's a good chance McCarthy won't make a final decision until just before the 45-man gameday roster has to be set 90 minutes before kickoff.
Asked if this is a case of deciding whether 80 percent or 90 percent of Clifton is better than 100 percent of Colledge, McCarthy said: "I think that's convenient conversation. Personally, I don't know how you judge that, when individuals say they're 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent. There were some things that he did in his workout today that were very encouraging compared to the workout he was put through two days ago, and there's a couple things that we need to see him do Monday. And if I see what I like, and Dr. Pat McKenzie is OK with it from a medical standpoint, he'll have an opportunity to play in the game."
Clifton was absent at the start of practice but arrived in time to watch the final 10 minutes or so of the opening jog-through. Colledge, however, took all of the reps, though that had nothing to do with any concerns over Clifton aggravating the injury.
"I was more worried about getting Daryn ready. It's more getting Daryn ready to play," McCarthy said. "Chad's played a lot of left tackle. It's really not taking the opportunities and the reps away from Daryn Colledge."
Packers injury report
Out — Safety Atari Bigby (knee); running back Brandon Jackson (ankle); linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee). Questionable — Clifton. Probable — Defensive end Cullen Jenkins (groin); receiver Greg Jennings (wrist); defensive end Johnny Jolly (abdomen); defensive lineman B.J. Raji (ankle); cornerback Charles Woodson (foot).
All of the players listed as probable were full participants at practice.
"I thought he practiced well," McCarthy said of Raji, who tweaked his injured ankle on Thursday. "I'm curious to see how he feels in the morning. I would anticipate that he'll go, unless we have a setback in the morning."
Vikings injury report
Doubtful — Linebacker Erin Henderson (calf); receiver Darius Reynaud (hamstring). Questionable — Guard Steve Hutchinson (back); fullback Naufahu Tahi (back). Probable — Quarterback Brett Favre (foot); cornerback Cedric Griffin (hand); linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder); tight end Jim Kleinsasser (hand); punter Chris Kluwe (illness).
Favre, Erin Henderson, Hutchinson and Tahi were limited participants on Saturday. That was the Pro Bowler Hutchinson's first practice of the week, and he is expected to start. Reynaud, the Vikings' explosive rookie punt returner, probably would be replaced by starting receiver Bernard Berrian.
— McCarthy wasn't thrilled with Saturday's practice, though that was due to problems with the looks provided by the "opponent squads" — backups on offense lining up on defense to provide a look to the starters, for instance.
— The Packers depart for Minnesota at 12:45 p.m. Sunday. That means a lot of time to kill leading to Monday night's kickoff.
"I believe in making the road as close as you can, as similar as you can to a home weekend," McCarthy said. "So, we finish at exactly the same time on away games and home games as far as when we're done here and work on our Saturday schedule, which will be Sunday this week. We fly at the same time. I'm a big believer in that. I think continuity is very important. I do not have a problem getting to cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit early. I think it's important for our players to go to dinner together, no different than if it was a home game, with their families, and we just keep them on the same schedule. With the Monday night game, we'll have our walk-throughs in the morning. I think it's just important to stay on schedule, to keep your football team in a routine and not get to where you're hurrying to this place or hurrying to that place. To me, that's just added anxiety or stress that's not needed."
— The Vikings had a left-footed punter at practice this week — or a "lefty Louie," as Minnesota coach Brad Childress said on Saturday — to simulate the Packers' Jeremy Kapinos.
— Donald Driver, who needs five receptions to pass Sterling Sharpe's franchise record of 595, has posted his best two receiving games against the Vikings with 191 yards in 2006 and 162 yards in 2004.
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