Injuries Mount For Ailing Vikings

The Vikings' 0-2 start has been hideous at best and the outlook isn't getting any brighter as injuries and lineup changes could have several starters watching instead of playing.

The injuries that have ravaged the Vikings started in training camp when Matt Birk was forced out for the season with year-ending hip surgery. The problems continue to mount as the Vikings look more like a M*A*S*H unit than a football team.

Nate Burleson, who came into the season as the Vikings No. 1 receiver, will miss Sunday's game with a knee injury and there's a good chance that he will be lost until after the Vikings bye week following next Sunday's game vs. Atlanta.

Darren Sharper, a free agent signee who has one of the Vikings' two touchdowns in the first two games, is listed as probable on the depth chart, but will likely make his own call at game time whether he can go or not, and there are some rumblings that he too could be lost to the team until after the bye week if he doesn't show some serious recovery.

The same is true for LB E.J. Henderson. His high ankle sprain has prevented him from practicing and he's been eliminated from consideration for this week and may also be on the shelf until after the bye.

No matter how you slice it, the Vikings have problems that are beyond their control and, if they're going to pull out of their tailspin, it's going to take players that were originally thought of as reserves to get the job done.

* If Sharper doesn't play Sunday, Corey Chavous will be shifted to free safety and Willie Offord will join the starting lineup.
* Dontarrious Thomas is expected to start in place of Henderson.
* Michael Bennett's problems continue. His frustration has mounted in recent days with trade rumors and the likelihood that Mewelde Moore might start in his place Sunday. If confidence was an issue before, it's become worse with each passing day.
* The Vikings lead the league with most interceptions, are the only team without a TD pass and the only NFL team without a pass play of more than 25 yards.
* Koren Robinson will make his Vikings debut tomorrow as a kick returner, but with the problems at wide receiver, his role could expand.

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