Birk Lost Again?

With the regular season opener less than three weeks away, the Vikings might have to face the inevitability of being without Matt Birk once again.

Although the team wouldn't specify what exactly is ailing Matt Birk in his rehab from hip surgery, he said Monday that he might be headed back under the knife again -- putting his short-term availability in doubt.

Birk, who has undergone procedures to repair a sports hernia injury that led to surgery on his hip, visited specialists in New York to see the progress of his recovery and, from what VU has been told, the initial word hasn't been good.

With Birk out, the Vikings have opted to move Adam Goldberg into the role of backup center behind Cory Withrow, while also serving as the primary backup at both guard spots. With Goldberg currently out of the starting guard mix, Chris Liwienski and rookie Marcus Johnson are the starting guards.

* Mewelde Moore will start Friday's game vs. the Chargers because Michael Bennett is likely to be sidelined for the game with a neck injury. If he can't play, the Vikings will be shorthanded at RB -- Ciatrick Fason is likely done for the preseason and perhaps the regular-season opener Sept. 11.
* After having 31 penalties in their first two games, Mike Tice is contemplating having referees attend practice to make calls on Vikings players.
* The Vikes cut five players Monday -- LB David Bamino, WR Avion Black, QB John Bowenkamp, C Shawn Lynch and OT William Obeng -- to get the roster down to 83 players.

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