Elling Lost For Season

The Vikings are likely to be healthier Sunday at Lambeau Field than there were Monday night in Indianapolis, but they did lose one player for the season, kickoff specialist Aaron Elling.

Aaron Elling was hoping for redemption on a 2004 season that got off to a horrible start. After being handed the Vikings' kicking job, an awful preseason saw Elling cut. After a one-week stint in Tennessee, where he got a game ball for his effort, Elling returned to Minnesota to be a kickoff specialist and work with Morten Andersen on his consistency.

That ended Monday night with a snap. Elling — who was forced to cover a kickoff near midfield in the fourth quarter when Dominic Rhodes broke away from poor coverage — broke his right ankle and is lost for the season.

The Vikings are expected to sign another kicker to handle kickoffs and long field goals instead of entrusting all the kicking duties to Andersen.

Vikings coach Mike Tice said the team would bring in a number of kickoff specialists, but added that former practice squader Travis Dorsch is the favorite.

* Nate Burleson broke free for a 91-yard punt return against the Colts, but Tice said he thought the returners were a block away from breaking two returns last week as well.
* Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson suffered a sprained knee in the fourth quarter but returned one play later. He is expected to play Sunday against Green Bay.
* Tice "credited" the poor play of the weakside linebackers as a major problem in stopping the Colts. The Vikings tried Dontarrious Thomas, Mike Nattiel and Willie Offord at the position. "We're young in some areas, especially at linebacker," Tice said, adding later, "You have to execute the detail on your assignment." * Fortunately for the Vikings, Tice said that linebackers Raonall Smith, Chris Claiborne could be back on the field Sunday. He said running back Mewelde Moore could also return to action. * Randy Moss "probably" will be listed as doubtful for Sunday, Tice said. * Onterrio Smith is expected to get the start at Lambeau Field. "He earned that right," Tice said. * A heinous 28-yard fumble/muff/boot/whatever-term-you-like on the first offensive play of the game for the Vikings ended up costing them an NFL record streak. The Vikings finished with 292 total yards, ending a streak of 36 straight games that began back in 2002. While the lost yardage wasn't "credited" to any player, it did go down as a team loss of yardage and the result was the end of the streak.
* Bizarre oddity of the week: The Vikings not only hold the 300-yard record streak, they're also tied for the second-longest streak with 30 (a mark shared with the 2000-02 Rams). In 1999-2000, the Vikings rattled off 30 straight games of 300 yards. Who ended the streak? The Colts at the RCA Dome on the regular-season finale when Peyton Manning threw four touchdowns.
* The NFL continues to amass the riches. It was announced Monday that the league has agreed to a six-year TV broadcast package with CBS and FOX through 2011 to keep the AFC and NFC rights, respectively, as well as remaining in the rotation for the Super Bowl. The six-year extension is worth $8 billion – more than the existing TV package that includes ABC and ESPN. VU has been told that not only is the league preparing to extend the deal with the Disney Corp., there is also a proposal to have a limited pay-cable package for Thursday and Saturday night games after Thanksgiving.
* The Vikings' first completion Monday night didn't come until 13:20 remained in the first half. The second completion didn't happen until 3:50 was left in the second quarter.
* Red and Charline McCombs are celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary today.
* Colts receiver Marvin Harrison was part of two milestones Monday. He caught the 800th pass of his career and did it in 23 fewer games than Jerry Rice and 45 fewer than anybody else. He also caught his 664th pass from Peyton Manning, breaking the record held by Jim Kelly and Andre Reed of the Bills from 1986-96. It took Kelly and Reed 11 years. Manning and Harrison have done it in less than seven.
* Tony Dungy remained perfect as a head coach when having a lead of 14 points or more. Former Vikings assistants Dungy (now 39-0) and Brian Billick (34-0) have shown shutdown capability as head coaches when they get a lead. How many points did the Vikings lead Atlanta by in 1998? Apparently Denny Green didn't keep those numbers.
* Expect a number of roster moves in the coming days. Tice said another NFL team is looking to sign defensive back Oliver Celestin off the Vikings' practice squad, and the Vikings would likely bring back receiver Omar Jenkins to the practice squad in that scenario. Jenkins was with the Vikings in training camp. Tice also said the team likely will sign offensive lineman Anthony Herrera from the practice squad to the 53-man roster because Carolina has been looking to sign him away from the Vikings' practice squad. Teams are allowed to sign players from other teams' practice squad to their active roster. However, they cannot "steal" a player off the 53-man roster of another team.

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