Options Open At Right Tackle

The injuries are mounting, and the Vikings are exploring all their options to make up for the loss of Mike Rosenthal. They may wait and see how their young players can fill in, but many options are available, a team source says.

Injuries are a part of the game in the National Football League, and the Minnesota Vikings are dealing with their fair share early in the 2004 season. Whether this Vikings team has the wherewithal to succeed, the upcoming few weeks will tell the tale.

The list of walking-wounded in Minnesota continues to grow by the day. Besides season-ending surgery for tight end Jim Kleinsasser and a broken hand that is expected to sideline tight end Jermaine Wiggins for two to three weeks, starting offensive right tackle Mike Rosenthal is not expected to play again this season due to a broken foot suffered in the Vikings' loss to Philadelphia on Monday night. Minnesota medical personnel were hopeful Rosenthal only suffered a sprain, but tests further showed Tuesday that the foot was indeed broken.

"Rosenthal is extremely frustrated with the injury. He is a tough player and insists he will be healthy enough to play again this season," a team source said. "We [the Minnesota staff] have discussed the options we have with him and haven't yet determined if we are going to place him on Injured Reserve. Our best scenario is to evaluate him again in a couple weeks and see what the rate of progress [healing] is, and then we can go forward."

Losing Rosenthal could create a significant issue for the Minnesota offense. With raw and inexperienced depth at the right tackle position, the team intends on filling the void within the roster potentially with Nat Dorsey. At times, Dorsey has displayed the ability to dominate a defensive lineman — at other times he appears lost. Such is the way with most young players.

"Dorsey has the athletic ability to play the game and become a starter at some point. Right now, he is going to get an opportunity to step in and help this team. Due to the circumstances, this is a great opportunity for a young player. He has made some serious strides in practice, but has to improve in his technique and recognition," the source continued.

"The opposition in the league is very good and teams will attack a young, inexperienced player until he shows he can handle the pressure. Losing both Kleinsasser and Wiggins [to injury] will only hamper our situation, as we would have been a bit more comfortable with the help they could have provided in the offensive blocking scheme."

One potentially viable option to add depth and familiarity to the offensive line could be with the addition of former Vikings offensive lineman Everitt Lindsay. Released by the Arizona Cardinals late in training camp, Lindsay would provide the team an experienced lineman to improve depth and ability to step in to an emergency starter/fill-in role.

"Lindsay is definitely a player we know and believe may have the ability to help us. With the players we have on this roster and at this time in his career, he would be a backup for us," the source adds.

"We have a mild interest in a couple players, but there really is not one player available that we believe can step in and improve this team. Quality offensive linemen are pretty much a premium in this league. Trading for one may be an option, but a mighty expensive proposition to say the least."

For the foreseeable future the Vikings are going to go with the youth on the roster to fill the void left by Rosenthal. Whether it proves to be costly will be the question to be answered.

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