Birk a No-Go For Opener?

The Vikings' Matt Birk suffered severe injuries last year when he was rushed back to action. After getting a second opinion on his hip surgery, his timetable is being pushed back a bit and puts starting in the season opener now in jeopardy.

Matt Birk's hip surgery came at a time where the timetable for his return was somewhere between the third preseason game and the start of the regular season. Now even the back end of that prediction is up in the air.

When Birk had the surgery in July, VU openly speculated at the timetable projection, which we felt was a bit aggressive considering that much of his problem centered on being pushed back too soon last year.

Now it appears that the healing process is coming slower than anticipated. Mike Tice said there is no reason for alarm, that Birk is progressing slower than hoped, but he is still progressing.

Until he returns, Birk's place in the starting lineup will be taken by Cory Withrow.

* RB Ciatrick Fason is expected to be sidelined two to three weeks with a high ankle sprain.
* Anthony Herrera, who had been hospitalized with a leg infection since last Sunday, was released from the hospital Saturday.
* It would appear that E.J. Henderson has won the weakside linebacker job ... for now. He will be the starter when the Vikings play the Chargers on Friday.
* The Vikings have the first batch of cuts due this week, but plan to make a handful or more on Monday due more to space considerations at the team's training facility than wanting players to get a chance to hook on with someone else.
* Hovan: the Rebirth -- Former Viking Chris Hovan sparkled under his new tutors in Tampa Saturday, registering one tackle with no sacks and no assists. The extra effort paid off, although one VU scout said the tackle came as the result of a player stumbling over a prone Hovan.

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