Receiver corps one big question mark

The Vikings' top three receivers are all dealing with injuries, putting a desperate team in limbo. The team could see any combination of them on the field or on the bench Sunday against the Packers.

The Vikings are going to need to be at or near 100 percent on Sunday in order to beat the Green Bay Packers. With both Green Bay and Chicago, which improved to 7-3 last night with a 16-0 domination of a depleted Miami offense, doing their part to ratchet up the heat on the Vikings, Sunday's game has only intensified with the "must-win" tag.

Unfortunately, the Vikings are far from 100 percent. The injuries are mainly concentrated at one position – wide receiver. As the Vikings tried to make a comeback late in Sunday's loss to Chicago, they were doing so with Greg Camarillo, Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett lining up in three-receiver sets. Meanwhile, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian were all sitting side by side on the bench – all but killing any chance of a comeback win.

All three could potentially be playing Sunday against the Packers. All three could also once again be sitting or standing on the Vikings' sideline Sunday. Or there could be some combination of active/inactive mixed in. As the team heads into its most important game of the season, the wide receiver cupboard could be either stocked or bare, depending on what happens over the next 48 hours.

Each case is different. Each injury is different. Each prognosis for Sunday is different.

Rice has been inactive all season, placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list in July when training camp opened. Expected to be activated last week, the Vikings were confident enough in his return that it opted not to fill the roster spot opened with the release of Randy Moss. Rice bristled at the notion that he has delayed his return due to contact issues, but he made the call last week and wasn't activated off the PUP list. He reiterated this week that he wants to be on the field as soon as possible, but, until it happens, Vikings fans can only wait.

"I hope (the roster spot) is taken by Sidney," Childress said Thursday. "Right? … I'm holding it! I've got this one for you!"

Harvin has been battling an ankle injury for three weeks and, while he has been able to gut it out and make plays, he has had recurrences of the injury twice since initially suffering the injury. He has been limited in practice and, while he is expected to play, the ankle is iffy at best and could send him to sidelines.

Berrian was on the active game-day roster Sunday, but, shortly before game time informed the team he couldn't go with a groin injury, leaving the Vikings one player short on their game-day roster. He has been practicing only on a limited basis and his availability remains uncertain.

With their 2010 season hanging in the balance, it's a bad time to have your top three receivers in less-than-ideal condition. We likely won't know until tomorrow if Rice is going to be active and won't know until game time if Harvin or Berrian can go – not the kind of question marks a desperate team needs.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • Safety Eric Frampton (hamstring) was the only Vikings that didn't participate in practice Thursday.

  • Five other Vikings were limited in Thursday's practice – Berrian (groin), Harvin (ankle), Brett Favre (ankle/foot), John Sullivan (calf) and Anthony Herrera (elbow).

  • Asher Allen said Thursday that he was close to being ready last weekend with a concussion and kidded that he was completing a puzzle book in the locker room and, if he could finish a puzzle in less than five minutes, he would be cleared to play. Allen has taken part fully in both practices to date.

  • No Packers missed Thursday's practice, but several were limited, including starting WR Donald Drive (quadriceps), LB Clay Matthews (shin), CB Charles Woodson (toe) and DL Ryan Pickett (ankle).

  • The final injury reports will be released later today, assigning probabilities of playing with the individual injuries.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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