Promoted Cornerback Gets Physical

Rhett Nelson's move to the active roster saw him getting physical in practice Wednesday. Plus, get a dozen player notes as the Vikings prepare for Detroit.

After six weeks of waiting to see if LB Raonall Smith could come back from two concussions, the Vikings finally placed him on injured reserve to make room for a fresh body in the secondary.

CB Rhett Nelson was promoted from the practice squad and will serve as the team's dime back this weekend because Ralph Brown fractured an eye socket in last week's loss to Seattle. Nelson played in three games last season and the opener this season. He's one of the team's fastest players and is a decent special-teamer.

The Vikings are expected to add another cornerback next week when Rushen Jones is able to re-sign with the team. Jones was injured earlier in the season. Because the Vikings worked out an injury settlement with Jones, he had to wait to re-sign until next week.

In his first practice since being elevated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, Nelson body-slammed practice-squad receiver Ryan Hoag during a walk-through. Hoag might have broken his collarbone.


  • FS Brian Russell returned his first interception of the season 41 yards Sunday. His 22.2-yard average (244 yards on 11 interceptions) ranks second in team history behind Dewayne Washington's 25.8-yard average.

  • RB Onterrio Smith is the only Vikings player with at least 200 career carries who has a rushing average of 5.0 yards or better. Smith's average is 5.01 (222-1,112).

  • QB Daunte Culpepper needs three yards rushing to move past Herschel Walker into 12th place on the Vikings' career rushing list. Culpepper has 2,262 yards on 421 carries.

  • DT Chris Hovan didn't show much improvement in his ability to get off blocks in Sunday's game against Seattle. Hovan was inactive the previous two weeks because of poor play. He might be de-activated against the Lions because Detroit likes to run the ball. The Vikings might use larger run-stuffing nose tackle Steve Martin instead.

  • Coach Mike Tice is 5-0 against the Lions. QB Daunte Culpepper is 8-0 against Detroit. "I feel some good things will happen," Tice said.

  • DT Chris Hovan has 4.5 sacks against Detroit. He has 11 sacks against the rest of the league.

  • CB Derek Ross is lucky the Vikings are thin and unhealthy at cornerback. Ross made four big mistakes against Chicago two weeks ago, including giving up a touchdown, and another one against Seattle last week. "Derek Ross is like a cat," Tice said. "I think he's on 8 1/2 lives right now."

  • QB Daunte Culpepper and WR Randy Moss became the 13th tandem in NFL history to combine for 50 touchdown passes when they hooked up against Seattle last week.

  • TE Jermaine Wiggins has 54 catches and is on pace for 67. The team record for a tight end is 79 by Joe Senser in 1981.

  • Tice was asked how badly Randy Moss wants to win. "Oh, absolutely," Tice said. "He's about a world championship. He's got all the money. He's got all the accolades. What he's lacking, as Cris Carter was lacking, is a world championship."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 25 — Number of catches TE Jermaine Wiggins needs in the last three games to tie Joe Senser's team single-season receptions record. Wiggins has 54 catches for the season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Today, I suspect, that in the state of Minnesota the conversation in every science laboratory, every working crew out building a highway, the guys out at the airport getting ready to fly planes, is going to be the Vikings and why did they have that stupid play there at the end of the game?" — Owner Red McCombs, speaking Monday morning, a day after a reverse option pass by Randy Moss was intercepted in the end zone with 2:16 left and the Vikings trailing by four points and looking at first down from the Seattle 20.

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