Withrow Demoted For Sunday

Coach Mike Tice threatened changes last week, saying the Vikings offensive line could have a different look when they return from the bye. That new look will start at center.

Mike Tice has been fed up with the lack of consistency at offensive line and has promised changes. The first change made itself evident Thursday, when the team announced that Melvin Fowler will start at center.

Fowler, who was acquired from the Browns during the preseason in a trade for OT Nat Dorsey, will replace Cory Withrow. Withrow has been touted as one of the best young backup centers in the league, but has struggled mightily this year. It is believed that the change will put a spark in the O-line, but Tice didn't say if the move to Fowler is permanent or temporary -- he'll let his play Sunday dictate the future.

Guard Adam Goldberg is also expected to start in place of Marcus Johnson. In both cases, there could be a rotation of players.

FRIDAY NOTES
* The Vikings are 13-3 coming out of a bye week -- the best record in the NFL.
* Darren Sharper was removed from the injury report and will start Sunday.
* Moe Williams still had an ice bag on his knee Thursday, but is expected to be active for Sunday's game.
* DL Spencer Johnson is expected to sit out Sunday with a knee injury.
* Koren Robinson is being tabbed as the kickoff returner for Sunday.
* Three key Bears players -- RB Thomas Jones, OG Ruben Brown and OT John Tait -- didn't practice Thursday and remain question marks for Sunday.
* According to KSTP-TV, suspended Vikings running back Onterrio Smith is being accused of sexual assault by a 21-year-old Richfield woman, who says she was drinking with Smith and another Viking at the other player's apartment. After passing out, the woman alleges she woke up with both players on top of her. The incident allegedly occured on June 12, 2004. Smith is currently serving a one-year suspension for his third strike against the NFL's substance abuse policy.


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