Is Dunn Done?

Defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas' schemes to stop Tampa Bay's running game may look more effective Sunday, because the Bucs likely will be without a very key member, slippery running back Warrick Dunn.

This week bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is good news for the Vikings. The news was very bad -- or good in the Vikings' case -- Friday in Tampa.

Although Vikings coach Dennis Green has said all week long that the Vikings would simply game plan to see Bucs scatback Warrick Dunn and always says that the Vikings concentrate on what they can control, the news out of Tampa was that Dunn is highly unlikely to play. Dunn sat out of practice most of the week, but when he attempted to come back on Friday he re-aggravated a hamstring injury.

It's either a very good and highly unlikely ploy from desperate Bucs coach Tony Dungy or the simple truth, but Dungy said it would take a miracle for Dunn to play.

Why is that such good news for the Vikings? Well, Dunn played all the way up until the Bucs' final drive in the two teams' first meeting in September and averaged almost 6 yards per carry, even though the Bucs only handed him the ball 11 times. He suffered a foot injury on a touchdown run in that game, but his more recent injury is a hamstring strain. Instead, while the Vikings' run defense is playing some of their best ball in five years with swarming tackling, the Vikings will be able to execute that against a slower, more plodding Mike Alstott.

The other good injury news -- for the Vikings -- is that Bucs receiver Jacquez Green is also unlikely to play. He didn't practice Friday because of a groin injury.

* The Vikings are confident they finally have their offense hitting again on all cylinders. Even though he didn't catch a TD pass, Randy Moss had eight receptions last week and the Vikings offense has turned a corner. In the last two games, the Vikes have scored 66 points, as opposed to just 58 points in the first four games of the season.
* Ask anyone who hits the Vegas sports book and you'll find that the Vikings aren't as good as an underdog as they appeared last week when they were a home dog against the Packers. In the last nine games the Vikings have been a dog, dating back to 1998 if you can believe it, the Vikings are 2-7 against the point spread -- meaning when they're predicted to lose, they usually do and by more points than predicted.
* Former Vikings CB Keith Thibodeaux had a tryout with the Green Bay Packers Thursday, but no signing was announced.
* Despite splitting the season series with the Bucs each of the last eight years, the Vikings hold a 31-16 lead in the all-time series.
* Moss is on pace to have 1,050 yards receiving and three touchdowns, which both would be the biggest lows of his NFL career.
* Speaking of season lows, Warren Sapp, still considered one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the NFL, is having a horrible season. Through five games, he has just 10 tackles, one sack and two running back stuffs.
* The Vikings have averaged just 15.7 points a game in the last seven games at Tampa Bay.

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