Birk Says He'll Be Ready for Opener

Vikings Pro Bowl center Matt Birk is still recuperating from hip surgery, but is confident he'll be on the field starting when the Vikings open the regular season Sept. 11 vs. Tampa Bay.

With the weeks winding down before the Vikings head to Mankato for training camp, VU has received some good news -- Matt Birk's rehabilitation from recent surgery is going well and he expects to return within the original six- to eight- week timetable.

Birk, who missed two stretches of time last season with a pair of surgeries to repair a sports hernia, had surgery last month -- which he blamed on overcompensation due to the hernia injuries.

The word VU is being told is that Birk is progressing at or ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and that, while the team will likely err on the side of caution during the first two or three weeks of the preseason, when the whistle blows for the regular season, Birk expects to be prepared to take on his usual full workload.

* The NFL will conduct its annual supplemental draft Thursday and, much like the regular draft, teams will have an opportunity to make selections in draft order. Teams at or near the end of the first round might make a pick, but more likely is a team or two not getting involved until the second round or later. The word around Winter Park is that the Vikings will likely have marginal interest and probably won't make a selection unless someone falls into the final few rounds of picks as compensation.

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