Tate Likely Out for Sunday

The chances of Robert Tate starting Sunday took a bad turn Thursday, as he missed most of practice and likely won't play Sunday.

The Vikings coaching staff held out hope Thursday that Robert Tate would take the cryptic remarks from coach Dennis Green to heart and find a way to better conceal the extent of his shoulder injury -- giving the team reason to start the most experienced corner on the team.

Instead, Tate sat out most of Thursday's practice and looks less likely than ever to start Sunday in the Vikings game with the Saints.

While Tate took part in some drills, rookie Eric Kelly worked with the first unit all of practice, a clear sign that he is being groomed as the starter Sunday.

While hope is still being held out that Tate can at least contribute Sunday, VU has been told that unless he makes significant progress today, he will likely be deactivated Sunday.

FRIDAY NOTES
* If the Saints didn't have enough concerns with injuries to guard Chris Naeole and tight end Cam Cleeland, RB Ricky Williams was injured in a rollup with a practice squad player Thursday and strained a shoulder ligament. While he spent the rest of practice wrapped in ice, he is going to be listed as probable in today's revised injury report and is expected to play.
* The family of Korey Stringer is getting more serious about seeking a wrongful death lawsuit against the Vikings and the NFL. Anyone who is a regular viewer of Court TV knows who attorney Stanley Chesley is. He is a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death lawsuits and has been retained by the Stringer family. An OSHA report on his death, which was scheduled to be released this week, has been delayed because one of the State of Minnesota's largest trade unions is on strike, including Minnesota OSHA employees in charge of paperwork.
* With the retention of the NFL playoff system, the Vikings-Ravens game in Week 17, which at one time was figured to be moved to Saturday, is now expected to be played on Monday night. This also will affect ABC-TV's view of the Vikes in Week 16. Due to low ratings the last two years, the NFL didn't announce Monday night games for the final two weeks, letting the league and the network select games in early December to close out the schedule. The Vikings-Packers game Dec. 30 looked like a natural -- although New Year's Eve at Lambeau is a frightening prospect -- with the Vikings playing the Ravens the following week, that game may be eliminated by force rather than choice.
* The Vikings defense is rated No. 11 in the league, based on yardage -- with the run defense ranked No. 7 and the pass defense rated No. 21.
* Cris Carter needs just nine yards Sunday to move into fifth place on the all-time yardage list, passing Seattle great Steve Largent, and, if he has a big day, he could move to No. 4 on the same day -- he's 118 yards behind current No. 4 receiver Andre Reed.

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