Who's Hurt, Who's Hot, Who's Not

The Vikings are one of many teams scrambling with injuries. Get the rundown on who's hurt, who's hot and who's not for the Vikings, Packers and more.

Minnesota Vikings

TE Jermaine Wiggins was lost until probably the Oct. 17 game at New Orleans because of a fractured left hand. Wiggins was injured shortly after catching a career regular-season high eight passes against the Eagles. Wiggins' injury was the second blow in two weeks to what used to be a deep group of tight ends. Jim Kleinsasser damaged his ACL in the season-opener against Dallas and is out for the season after opting for surgery on Tuesday.

RT Mike Rosenthal broke his foot and was lost for the season in the second quarter of the 27-16 loss at Philadelphia.

OT Adam Haayer, who was a practice squad player last season, could get his first NFL start Sunday in his seventh game against Chicago at the Metrodome. He would replace Mike Rosenthal, who is out for the year with a broken foot.

OT Nat Dorsey is another option to start Sunday in what basically will be an audition to see if he's capable of starting during the year. Adam Haayer could also get the start in place of injured RT Mike Rosenthal. The Vikings feel they stole Dorsey in the fourth round of this year's draft. They had hoped to have a year to groom him, build his strength and get him used to playing both tackle positions after spending his entire career at Georgia Tech as a left tackle. That hope vanished when Rosenthal collapsed near the goal line at Lincoln Financial Field. Ideally, the Vikings want Dorsey to be able to start after the Oct. 3 bye and Haayer to continue backing up both guard and tackle positions.

C Matt Birk rarely makes one mistake in a game. To hear his named called twice for infractions is unheard of. Except for Monday, when he was penalized twice for holding in a 27-16 loss at Philadelphia. Birk's second holding penalty was questionable, at best, but it still negated an 11-yard touchdown run by Daunte Culpepper. The score would have closed the gap to 17-13 with the extra point. "The bottom line is they called me for holding and it cost us points," Birk said. It just exemplifies what happened to us today. It was a critical mistake by me."

DE Kenny Mixon returns from a two-game league suspension this week. His presence at left end will be an upgrade in all phases. DE Chuck Wiley will return to a backup roll, which better suits him.

P Darren Bennett just can't seem to turn the ball over. He punted once for 39 yards against the Eagles and is averaging 35.3 yards per punt. There are whispers that he's lost it at age 39.

TE Richard Owens, a rookie free agent, is stepping up at the right time. With TE Jim Kleinsasser (knee) out for the season and TE Jermaine Wiggins suffering a broken hand on Monday, Owens and fellow rookie Jeff Dugan are the only healthy tight ends on the roster. Owens looked fluid, athletic and sure-handed while making three catches for 36 yards against the Eagles. He had a 19-yarder on fourth-and-one in the red zone.

TE Jeff Dugan, the team's seventh-round draft pick, showed some ability to block on the edge, but he committed two false starts on one drive in the second half. It helped kill a key drive.

DT Chris Hovan had another quiet game. He didn't appear on the post-game defensive statistics sheet. The Vikings are growing impatient with him and think he is reverting to bad habits from last season.

Green Bay Packers

QB Brett Favre was adequate against the Bears and second-year man Rex Grossman. Now Favre will be matched Sunday against Peyton Manning. They have played against each other just once. That was in November 2000 at Lambeau Field and the Packers won, 2624. Favre was 23 of 36 for 301, two touchdowns and one interception. Manning was 25 of 44 for 294, 3 TD's and one INT.

RB Tony Fisher had a rough day as Ahman Green's backup. With Najeh Davenport out, Fisher played extensively for Green. He ran into Mark Tauscher's back on one run, slipped down on another when he cut off the wrong foot and wasn't patient enough on a screen to wait for Marco Rivera's block on R.W. McQuarters. Thus, a potential big gain went for minus1.

FB Nick Luchey started at fullback for William Henderson, 33. Luchey played 22 snaps compared for 11 for Henderson. The Packers are beginning to phase out Henderson.

TE Bubba Franks grabbed a 16yard touchdown pass in the second half. However, the play was called back when he was penalized for offensive pass interference. The official ruled that Franks pushed off MLB Brian Urlacher.

WR Javon Walker had seven catches for 102 yards against the Bears. Six, for 93 yards, came against Charles Tillman, the Bears' best cornerback. From all appearances, Brett Favre is becoming more comfortable with Walker as a third-down receiver instead of just a deep guy. However, Walker did drop a third-down slant in the first half and the Packers were forced to punt.

WR Donald Driver hasn't made any big plays yet but he will if he keeps breaking tackles like he has been. Driver looks more explosive than he did in 2003.

K Ryan Longwell will be matched this week against the Colts' Mike Vanderjagt. Some say Vanderjagt is the best in the business. Others argue that Longwell is just as good because he kicks in Green Bay and Vanderjagt boots for a dome team.

RB Ahman Green played another great game against the Bears, rushing 24 times for 128 yards. However, his game will be remembered for his fumble at the 2 that was returned 95 yards for a touchdown by S Mike Brown. He was carrying the ball in his left hand, which was closest to the defense. The Packers have tried to get Green to switch the ball away from traffic but have been unsuccessful. "You just have to make sure he'll put as much emphasis on it as we will and not let it happen again," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said.

DT Cletidus Hunt is off to a weak start. He's not in shape, tires in games and isn't penetrating like he used to. "I wanted some plays run at me more," Hunt said. "But it's kind of complicated having rookies in there. They're going to try to pick on the rookies."

CB Mike McKenzie played nine snaps as a backup against Chicago in his first game back from a 46day holdout. Michael Hawthorne has been the starter at left corner in the first two games. Now it's time for McKenzie to regain his starting job.

San Francisco 49ers

RB Fred Beasley returned to action Sunday after being out since Aug. 14 with a high left ankle sprain. Beasley made an immediate impact in the run game, despite not touching the ball. His blocked helped the 49ers roll up 180 rushing yards.

WR Brandon Lloyd has been largely a forgotten man in the 49ers' first two games. On Sunday vs. the Saints, Lloyd caught just one pass for 7 yards. Erickson said it is a priority to get Lloyd more involved in the offense.

WR Cedrick Wilson hopes to be able to play this week after missing the game vs. the Saints with a left hamstring pull. Wilson said he is going to have to learn to have a practice speed. He said going all-out in practice is part of the reason he got injured.

WR Curtis Conway started at the flanker position and led the team with eight catches for 112 yards. He also nearly made a huge gain on the first play of the game when Ken Dorsey overshot him on a deep pass. Conway had beaten Saints CB Ashley Ambrose by a couple steps.

WR Rashaun Woods, the team's top draft pick, saw action on only two plays and has yet to make a case an increase in his playing time. "Because of Cedrick (Wilson's) injury, we'll work Rashaun more in practice this week," coach Dennis Erickson said.

TE Eric Johnson, who missed all of last season with a broken collarbone, is the team's leading receiver through two weeks. Johnson has 13 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. He did not catch a pass in the first half against the Saints but finished with five receptions for 60 yards.

PK Todd Peterson, 34, made field goals of 30 and 33 yards on Sunday to keep him perfect through the first two games. Peterson is 4-for-4 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points, including a bizarre PAT that bounced off both uprights before going over the crossbar.

QB Tim Rattay will miss his second consecutive start with a grade-two right shoulder separation. He required eight to 10 injections just to be able to serve in a backup role on Sunday to Ken Dorsey. Coach Dennis Erickson said he is uncertain whether Rattay or rookie Cody Pickett will be the No. 2 quarterback vs. the Seahawks.

QB Ken Dorsey showed enough promise in the 49ers' 30-27 loss to the Saints that coach Dennis Erickson has not ruled out the possibility that Dorsey could remain as the starter even after Rattay returns from his injury. "That depends on what happens the next three weeks," Erickson said. "If Tim was healthy this weekend he would start. As time goes on, you just sit and evaluate."

RB Kevan Barlow removed himself from Sunday's game against the Saints in the fourth quarter because of sore ribs. Barlow gained 114 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries prior to the injury. The condition does not seem serious, as coach Dennis Erickson said Barlow will be able to practice on Wednesday.

LT Kwame Harris sustained a high left ankle sprain, as well as a partially torn MCL, and will likely miss several weeks of action. With Harris likely out, RG Kyle Kosier would move to LT and rookie Justin Smiley would play RG.

DE Andre Carter, who missed the Saints game with a bulging disc in his lower back, is hoping to be able to play this week against the Seahawks. "His back is improving," coach Dennis Erickson said. "It's a day-by-day thing. We're not sure what his status will be for Sunday's game."

CB Mike Rumph sustained a right groin strain in the season opener and missed Sunday's game against the Saints. He has a chance to return to action this week, coach Dennis Erickson said.

FS Dwaine Carpenter, who missed most of training camp with a partially torn MCL, will get mixed back into the action, coach Dennis Erickson said. "Now that he's healthy, we'll mix him in there at safety with Ronnie (Heard) and Tony (Parrish)."

Indianapolis Colts

QB Peyton Manning led the Colts to touchdowns on four of their first five possessions of the second half at Tennessee. Manning got Indianapolis out of a secondand20 situation with a 17yard pass to WR Reggie Wayne and a six-yarder to WR Marvin Harrison. QB Joe Hamilton was a surprise choice by the Colts' coaching staff to be the team's No. 2 signal caller. Hamilton, though, has a history with Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy, the two were together at Tampa Bay and Dungy likes his ability to improvise when plays break down.

RB Dominic Rhodes will start the Packers' game if Edgerrin James is unable to play. Rhodes has started 11 games that James has missed due to injury since 2001 and has had six 100yard rushing games, including a 177-yard effort against Atlanta in 2001.

WR Reggie Wayne now has six career 100-yard receiving games after his 119-yard performance last week against Tennessee.

WR Marvin Harrison's 17 receptions through the first two games of the year could mean he is on his way to yet another 100plus catch season.

WR Brandon Stokley has become a valuable go to guy in the Indianapolis offense. Ever since he returned from foot and ankle injuries late last season, Stokley has given the Colts a consistent and productive third receiver.

TE Dallas Clark is expected to be available for Sunday's home opener with Green Bay. Clark had his foot rolled on during last week's game at Tennessee, which limited his playing time.

LB Rob Morris says it's time to think less and just play the defense. Morris, who tied a career high with 13 tackles at Tennessee, admits that some of the problems with the Colts' defense are that people himself included, tend to try and overanalyze what they should be doing on each play instead of just playing the defense and the technique that's called.

RB Edgerrin James continues to contend that he still might play against Green Bay Sunday despite suffering a second degree hamstring pull on his final rushing attempt at Tennessee. James felt a twinge in the back of his left leg as he crossed the goal line on his 30-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of the Titans' game.

DT Josh Williams started and played most of the Tennessee game despite struggling a bit with a sore right foot. Williams, who has taken over at right tackle, suffered the injury late last week and did not take part in the team's Friday workout.

CB Nick Harper knows he is under the gun as the Colts' primary cover man. But it was his "steal" of a pass from Titans QB Steve McNair in the second half of last week's Tennessee game that helped turn around Indianapolis' fortunes.

Harper grabbed the ball away from Tennessee WR Derek Mason in the end zone and prevented a Titans touchdown in the process. "We're taught to do that," he said. "Just play the receiver and not the ball. That's what I did."

CB Mike Echols has been added to the Colts' practice squad. Echols had been a fourth round draft choice of the Tennessee Titans in 2002. The former Wisconsin standout played in nine games in two seasons with the Titans.

"He's a guy we liked coming out of school," Coach Tony Dungy said. "I thought that he'd fit in this system real well."

Tennessee Titans

QB Steve McNair has a 90.8 passer rating in 13 career regular season games against Jacksonville to go with an 85 record. He's thrown 17 touchdowns versus nine interceptions.

RB Chris Brown is averaging 6 yards a carry, but just 1 yard per carry on third down. The Jaguars present the best run defense he's faced so far as the starter.

RB Antowain Smith has carried 43 times for 156 yards 3.6 average and two TD's in his career against Jacksonville.

TE Erron Kinney has been good for 3.5 catches a game in his last five against Jacksonville.

K Gary Anderson hit his only field goal attempt in his first game back with the Titans. His range is an issue the Titans passed on a 44yard attempt into a breeze against the Colts in the fourth quarter and wound up throwing an interception.

DT Albert Haynesworth and the Titans run defense held Jacksonville RB Fred Taylor to just 113 yards in two games last year.

LB Keith Bulluck made 13 tackles and had a sack in his last game against Jacksonville. Without Peter Sirmon and potentially Rocky Calmus, he has less help in the nickel package than in the past.

CB Samari Rolle has eight of his 23 career interceptions against Jacksonville, including one in the teams' last meeting.

WR Drew Bennett is dealing with strained ribs and is coming off a game where he misjudged or failed to adjust to two passes that could have been big plays. The first was a sure touchdown.

WR Tyrone Calico is coming off of two sprained knees suffered Aug. 30 but has a solid chance to return to action Sunday against the Jaguars.

MLB Rocky Calmus has had lower back problems that have been leaving his left leg weak for almost two weeks, and it was bad enough on Sunday that he couldn't play against Indianapolis. The Titans only used three backers for about 2 plays, but Calmus is typically part of the nickel too, and Rocky Boiman took those snaps.

The Titans will send Calmus to a specialist in North Carolina on Wednesday for a second opinion and expect his playing status to become clearer.

"It is still a problem for him," Coach Jeff Fisher said. "He still has some weakness, so we are going to look at it a little closer. We've done a bunch of tests, we have done MRI's and CAT scans, but we want to send him to a specialist and just try and eliminate some things."

The pain is from a nerve leading into his left thigh, and the Titans continue to believe Calmus isn't dealing with any structural damage.

"I'm just taking it day-to-day. It's just something that needs to calm down and it just needs time," Calmus said. "Unfortunately, we just don't have that much time."

San Diego Chargers

QB Doug Flutie still has some magic left in this 41yearold lantern. Flutie replaced Brees on Sunday and capped an 81yard drive with a 6yard scamper into the end zone. If the Chargers could have recovered the onside kick, Flutie was set to heave a Boston College like pass into the end zone. Flutie would likely start if Brees can't go Sunday, although Schottenheimer wouldn't confirm that on Monday.

RB Jesse Chatman got some playing time Sunday, as he carried the ball 3 times for 10 yards. Chatman, so far, has held off rookie Michael Turner for the backup role.

WR Reche Caldwell has had two touchdown receptions in two weeks. If Caldwell can now show some consistency, it would help the Chargers in the area where they are the weakest wide out.

WR Eric Parker had but two catches for 19 yards on Sunday, as he trouble getting open. He also had a critical fumble on a punt return.

TE Antonio Gates returned to earth after his big opening day, as the Jets' defense kept a watchful eye on him. Gates had four catches for 39 yards, but just as important, had two drops and displayed alligator arms over the middle on another occasion.

LB Stephen Cooper came on when Randall Godfrey came out on occasion and ended up as the game's leading tackler with nine. Godfrey is expected to be OK by Sunday.

QB Drew Brees is looking as if he will go Sunday in Denver after suffering a concussion which forced his removal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Jets. Brees expects to return to practice on Wednesday. Before being hurt, though, Brees was off kilter in the first half, when finishing with but 1 net yard passing.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson finished with 87 rushing yards and a score on 19 carries, to go with three catches for 76 yards. But Tomlinson's talents are wasted whenever the Chargers fall far behind. Tomlinson was also bothered by a jammed toe on Sunday, and pulled himself out on occasion. He said he'll play Sunday.

WR Tim Dwight ran a few offensive plays, but most of his work came on special teams, where he returned a kick 87 yards for a touchdown. But as he gets more confidence in his mending hamstring, Dwight should become more involved as the No. 3 receiver.

DT Jamal Williams had a rough day on Sunday, as many of Curtis Martin's big runs were right up the gut of the defense. Many said before the season that Williams, at 350 pounds, might be too light to man the middle of a 34. They might be right.


Viking Update Top Stories