Williams Injury Could Be Break For Moore

If Moe Williams can't play on Sunday in Philadelphia, it could be Mewelde Moore's best opportunity in months. Plus, get notes on Morten Andersen, Ralph Brown, Willie Offord, Antoine Winfield, Kevin Williams, Onterrio Smith, Jermaine Wiggins, Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss and more.

The high right ankle sprain that is likely to knock veteran RB Moe Williams out of Sunday's game at Philadelphia is a big break for rookie RB Mewelde Moore. Although Vikings coach Mike Tice is holding out hope that Williams can play, Moore is the heir apparent to Williams as the team's third-down back.

Moore isn't the pass protector that Williams is, but he is a better runner and equally talented as a receiver out of the backfield. Moore, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games when injuries and Onterrio Smith's drug suspension forced him into action early in the season, has touched the ball only once from scrimmage in the last 10 games. He was inactive for five of those games.

  • K Morten Andersen showed his age (44) in the Packers game. He had a 35-yard field goal that barely crawled over the crossbar. Later, the Vikings punted from their 30-yard line rather than attempt a 48-yarder.

  • SS Willie Offord shocked most who have seen him play by holding his own in the Packers game as a replacement for Corey Chavous. Chavous was out because of a fractured left elbow. Offord, in his first start since 2002, had eight tackles and a forced fumble.

  • CB Ralph Brown went from thinking his season was over because of a fractured eye socket to an interception of Brett Favre in the playoffs. Brown missed the last three regular-season games but was the nickel back against the Packers. He was one of four players who intercepted a Favre pass. "We shut down (Favre's) big routes, and he didn't know what else to do," Brown said.

  • Not only is K Jose Cortez doing an acceptable job as a kickoff specialist, he's also a decent tackler. He is tied for the team lead in postseason special teams tackles with two.

  • CB Antoine Winfield hopes to play without a brace on his left ankle. In his first start in a month, Winfield wore the brace while making 11 solo tackles and intercepting a pass in the wild-card win at Green Bay.

  • CB Ralph Brown was sporting a fat and bloody lip following the win over the Packers. "I got that after my interception," Brown said. "A big, old offensive lineman did it to me. But that's OK. We won."

  • Apparently, Elias Sports Bureau is the only one who can stop DT Kevin Williams. After making the Pro Bowl and being named to the Associated Press All-Pro team, Williams had a half-sack taken from him by Elias. Upon further review, he had only 1 1/2 sacks at Washington and 11 1/2 for the regular season.

  • Coach Mike Tice is tired of explaining his confusing running back rotation. Toward the end of the season, he declared Onterrio Smith as the feature back for the rest of the season. But it wasn't long before Smith disappeared and Michael Bennett began a string of starts. "I'm not going to explain why I'm playing what running back anymore," Tice said. "I think we'll play the one that I want to play and we'll play the one that's going to play, period. End of story."

  • In two games against the Eagles, WR Randy Moss has 15 catches for 164 yards (10.9) and two touchdowns.

  • TE Jermaine Wiggins' team-high 71 catches during the regular season ranks second in team history for a tight end behind Joe Senser's 79. "This is what I told everybody in the league I could do," said Wiggins, whose career high in catches before this season was 18. "Now they know that when I'm given the chance to do something, I do it." Wiggins is the first player other than Anthony Carter, Cris Carter or Moss to lead the Vikings in receptions since 1986.

  • In two games against the Eagles, QB Daunte Culpepper has completed 58 of 82 passes (70.7) for 628 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a 95.0 passer rating.

  • Before the Packers game, here is how TE Sean Berton summed up the public's perception of the Vikings' chances of beating the Packers: "If you polled 100 people, I bet you 85 would pick the Packers to win. And at least 12 of the next 15 would be diehard Vikings fans." He also said, "All of the pressure is on the Packers. It should make us more loose. There's been all this pressure on us the last however many games to win to get into the playoffs. I don't think we responded well to it. Now, we're underdogs on the road in the playoffs."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "At least I have one foot out of the mental institution." — Coach Mike Tice, opening his Monday press conference, a day after the Vikings beat the Packers 31-17 in a wild-card playoff game at Lambeau Field.





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