Birk Seeks Second Opinion

Before starting center Matt Birk makes a return to the playing field, he wants to be doubly sure his body is ready for it this time.

Viking Update has learned Pro Bowl center Matt Birk is seeking a second opinion on his injuries. Birk wants to make extra sure that he's physically ready to play this week. If he gets the thumbs up from the examination, he's expected to see playing time in Friday's game at the New York Jets.

The move may be a wise one, considering Birk was continually delaying a full recovery from his surgeries last season by trying to come back too soon or play through the injuries. He has had three surgeries to repair a sports hernia, and this offseason he had what he hopes is a final surgery to repair a hip that may have become injured by overcompensation when the hernias were causing pain.

Birk missed five starts last year due to the surgeries. He returned to practices this week, but the Vikings may be cautious in easing him back onto the field, as their main goal is to have him ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener.

Cory Withrow has been starting in Birk's absence, as he did last year.
* The Vikings officially break camp this morning when the return to the Twin Cities and fly out to New York.
* Rookie Troy Williamson is expected to see his first action as a Vikings tomorrow night.
* Chris Liwienski missed both practices Wednesday and is doubtful to play Friday, but hasn't been completely written off.
* Jets QB Chad Pennington is expected to play Friday after the missing the opener while showing lingering effects from off-season shoulder surgery.

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