Fowler In, Johnson Out

The Vikings hope to get center Melvin Fowler back for Sunday's game with the Bears, but the word isn't as good on Marcus Johnson.

The Vikings went into Sunday's game with just six offensive linemen on the active roster due to a rash of injuries. As a result, the odd scenarios needed to be worked out to have Anthony Herrera take some snaps as the emergency center and Jim Kleinsasser went through the team walk-through playing right tackle.

While the Vikings won't be at 100 percent when they play the Bears on Sunday, they should get one starter back. Melvin Fowler's left ankle has shown improvement and, if he's good enough to make it through today's practice without a setback, he will likely reclaim his starting job.

On the flip side, things aren't as rosy for rookie right tackle Marcus Johnson. His injured right ankle hasn't responded as well to treatment and, as it stands now, he likely won't be able to return. Former starter Mike Rosenthal will maintain the position.

* The Vikings now know with six or seven spots where they will pick in next April's draft. With their 8-7 record currently, if the Vikings lose Sunday, the best draft position they could earn would be No. 15. With a win, they could fall back no further than No. 21.
* Erasmus James was fined $5,000 by the league for a hit out of bounds during the loss to the Steelers in which he popped Ben Roethlisberger.
* Before last Sunday's loss, the Vikings defense was No. 1 in the league for not allowing pass completions of more than 15 yards. The team got burned for two long touchdowns Sunday by Kyle Boller.
* Raonall Smith had tests on his injured abdomen, but is expected to play Sunday.
* The Vikings expect to announce plans to renovate Winter Park later this week.
* Chris Kluwe is trying to hold off Arizona's Scott Player for No. 2 in punting in the NFC. Through 15 games, Kluwe has punted 68 times for 3,018 yards (a 44.4 average). Player has also punted 68 times for 3,012 yards (a 44.3 average).
* Mewelde Moore is No. 2 in the NFC in punt return average at 11.7, but is more than a full yard average behind the leader Reno Mahe of the Eagles.
* Koren Robinson continues to lead the NFC in kickoff returns with a 26-yard average.

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