McKinnie Better, Not Yet Ready

Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie didn't practice again Wednesday, but hasn't been counted out for Sunday's game.

Bryant McKinnie missed practice again Wednesday with a sprained ankle, but coach Mike Tice didn't discount his chances of playing Sunday.

When McKinnie was seen wearing a protective boot on his ailing ankle Tuesday, it seemed all but assured that he would be sitting out Sunday, but, like Tuesday, Tice wasn't ready to say for sure that McKinnie won't play Sunday.

Tice is pointing at Friday as a critical day. McKinnie won't practice today, but if he can go on Friday, he will get the starting nod at San Diego Sunday.

Until then, McKinnie will continue to get treatment on the ailing ankle and the Vikings will wait and see.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The Chargers are playing a waiting game of their own. Last week in a humbling loss to the Bears, QB Drew Brees got yanked for the first time since becoming a starter, being replaced by 41-year old veteran Doug Flutie. Flutie led the Chargers on their only scoring drive of the game and now Chargers fans -- like so many uninformed fans in the past -- are cheering for the diminutive scrambler to retard the progress of yet another NFL QB. If Flutie does start, it will be short-term and serve only to further divide a team that came into training camp looking at the playoffs and now are looking at a lottery pick in the draft.
* The Vikings listed just two players on the injury report -- McKinnie and injury list staple Raonall Smith. Both are listed as questionable.
* The Chargers have several players on their injury report. WR Eric Parker (shoulder) is out, TE Stephen Alexander (groin), C Jason Ball (ankle), OT Solomon Page (ankle) and DT Jamal Williams (calf) are listed as questionable and WR Reche Caldwell (concussion) and S Vernon Fox (groin) are listed as probable.
* The Vikings are not only 6-2 in the NFC North, but are 6-2 vs. the Las Vegas point spread. After starting 6-0, the Vikes were favored vs. both the Giants and Packers and obviously didn't cover the points. The worst in the NFL? The Raiders, who are 0-8 vs. the spread.
* Daunte Culpepper is No. 2 in the NFL with a QB rating of 104.0 -- behind only Steve McNair of the Titans (105.1).
* Culpepper's two interceptions is tied for the league-low among starters. He has two picks in 160 passes. Only Vinny Testaverde -- two interceptions in 198 passes -- has been more effective in not turning the ball over.
* Aaron Elling has made 10 of 13 field goal attempts this year, with two of his misses being from 50 yards and beyond.
* Randy Moss needs 122 yards receiving Sunday to go over 1,000 yards for the sixth straight season. He is on pace to catch 104 passes for 1,756 yards and 18 touchdowns.
* The Vikings are a plus-13 in giveaway-takeaway ratio, second only to Kansas City's plus-18.
* The Vikings rank third in offensive yards per game and lead the NFL with the most passing touchdowns (18) and least interceptions (4).
* Defensively, it's another story. The Vikings rank 29th in yards allowed, 28th in passing yards allowed and 20th in rushing yards allowed. Their saving grace is leading the league in interceptions with 18 -- two more than they had all last season.
* Corey Chavous took over the NFL lead in interceptions with seven last week. Brian Russell is tied with Patrick Surtain of the Dolphins for second place with six.
* For the record, the Chargers have the 21st rated offense and 28th ranked defense.

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