Birk Shut Down, Has Surgery

The Vikings have played short-handed for much of the 2004 season. So it should come as little surprise that, on the same day confidence rises on the role Randy Moss will play Sunday, the loss of center Matt Birk hits home hard.

Just when hopes were growing that, what remains of the blueprint of the Vikings offense -- a blueprint designed without Jim Kleinsasser and Mike Rosenthal -- would come together with the return of Randy Moss, another hit came Friday. And it was big.

After last Sunday's win, after bringing up Harvard's second by-pass in three years by the BCS -- which brought a smile to Birk's face -- VU asked a direct question. "Matt, define 'excruciating pain.'"

Birk shrugged his shoulders and said, "Pain happens in this league. You deal with it."

As much as he tried, Birk succumb to the demands of the business of football. Friday, Birk had surgery for a second time this season to repair a sports hernia. He is expected to miss a month, with hope being held out that he can return for the Christmas Eve game with the Packers.

While the Vikings aren't big on making excuses, the number of lost games for key players is beginning to pile up.

* Adam Goldberg has gone from the outhouse to the penthouse without doing anything noteworthy aside from being blown out for a safety last Sunday. Yet, if you read between the lines, the Vikings coaching staff is creating a competition between Goldberg and rookie Nat Dorsey. Initially viewed as a prospect at tackle and, more likely a replacement for David Dixon at guard, Dorsey was thrust into duty at right tackle because of injuries and ineffective play in front of him. Overmatched? At times, most certainly. But Dorsey accounted for himself better than most fourth-round rookies would. But it would seem that quotes intentially dropped Friday would make the right tackle spot up for grabs -- regardless of health status. Dorsey lost his job via injury. He'll get it back by performance -- or lack thereof (wink, wink).
* With Birk down, the Vikings re-signed Billy Conaty and released Ben Nelson. Nelson is expected to be re-signed to the practice squad.
* Mewelde Moore is sufficiently recovered from his high ankle sprain, but VU is being told he will likely be de-activated again this week.
* While Randy Moss is still listed as questionable, given his progress this week, he will likely play the entire game Sunday -- not being limited to a specific number of plays.
* VU Poobah Bob Lurtsema and Vikings great Mick Tingelhoff will be guests on the Vikings Game Day program Sunday morning on Twin Cities affilliate KSTP Channel 5 -- which airs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday from the Metrodome Plaza.

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